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Thursday, 21 October 2021 10:35

What do you want me to do for you?

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30OTBWeb400As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, (that is the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.’ And many of the people scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said, ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So, throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him, ‘Master, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go, your faith has saved you.’ And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road. (Mark 10:46-52)


There are all kinds of blindness - physical, lack of insight or perception, an unwillingness to see a confronting reality, and so on. For many weeks now we have travelled with Jesus and the disciples as they head towards Jerusalem. Many times, the disciples have seemed almost wilfully blind to understanding the mission of Jesus. Time and again, their own egos seem to get in the way – arguments about which is the greatest, wanting to be people of high status, powerbrokers and princes and rulers in the kingdom.

On this journey Jesus has been instructing the disciples about his mission and their call to be true followers of his. As we have seen, they have largely resisted both.

We are nearing the end of the journey. Today’s Gospel episode, the cure of blind Bartimaeus, is the last before Jesus enters the Holy City.

Bartimaeus may be blind, but he sees more clearly who Jesus is than the sighted disciples. In terms of faith, it is the disciples who are blind, and it is Bartimaeus who sees.

Even in his blindness Bartimaeus recognises who Jesus is. When Jesus calls him, his reaction is full of energy and enthusiasm. He throws off his cloak, jumps up and makes his way to Jesus, in contrast to the rather hesitant attitude of the disciples.

Jesus restores Bartimaeus’ sight with the words, ‘Go, your faith has saved you.’ But Bartimaeus does not go; he stays and follows Jesus.

Not only has Jesus restored Bartimaeus’ sight, he has also removed the taint of sinfulness which surrounded people with disabilities in those days.

This story is a parable about discipleship.

Bartimaeus is an image of the true disciple. He recognises his blindness and asks for healing. He comes to Jesus with great faith and enthusiasm and not much else. With sight restored he becomes a follower of Jesus on the journey to Jerusalem.

The presence of Jesus in our lives heals and restores us to our true calling as the People of God so that we can truly follow Jesus in our lives.

What Jesus asks Bartimaeus, he asks us, too: What do you want me to do for you?

Read or download our Celebrating At Home prayers & reflections for this Sunday.

pdf Celebrating At Home 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time [PDF] (499 KB)
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