As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large 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, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them 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.
Gospel for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Bartimaeus leaves his cloak to come to Jesus. There is no suggestion that he ever goes back to find it after his healing.
A cloak was home for the (otherwise) homeless beggar. Scripture urged Israel not to keep the cloak of the poor overnight, should it be taken as collateral for a debt (eg Deuteronomy 24.13: ‘You shall restore to him the pledge as the sun sets, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you. And it shall be righteousness for you before the LORD your God.’)
Bartimaeus leaves himself vulnerable.
In his single-minded attachment to the Lord, Bartimaeus challenges us as to the quality of our discipleship and tests the appropriateness and need of our hesitations and compromises.
- What helps you live faithful?
- What have you ‘left’ for the Lord?
- What have you gained as a result?
St Martin divides his cloak for benefit of a beggar. Musée national du Moyen Âge, formerly Musée de Cluny. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.