Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister JoAnn Recker, SNDdeN
October 24, 2021
Mark 10: 46-52
Like Bartimaeus of today’s gospel (Mk.19:46-52), we all want to see: What is the future of our globe given the current climate crisis? What will happen in so many nations around the world which are experiencing internal struggles to determine or maintain their manner of governance? What will happen to family and friends as a result of this rampant and persistent pandemic? What is the future of the Church given its dizzying decline in membership, priests, attendees at Mass and the sacraments, along with saddening lack of belief in the Real Presence? What will religious life as we have known it look like in the future?
Bartimaeus had only to be informed of the approaching passing of Jesus when “he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me’.” He had the faith and trust in this healer to know that a solution to his darkness was near. When we face situations such as those listed above, do we exhibit the same confidence and glimpse the nearness of our good God who walks along with us even in the darkest of situations?
In all three gospel accounts concerning Bartimaeus, there is a common element. Matthew, Mark, and Luke highlight the notable fact that, “Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he shouted even more loudly ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Matt. 20:20-34; Lk. 18:35-43). We might ask ourselves if we let ourselves be deterred in exhibiting a remarkable, joy-filled faith and trust and, instead, become adjusted to and discouraged by these dark times of questions without answers, outcomes that we can see or if, in a painful time of standing at a crossroads, we become paralyzed by the frustration of not seeing which step to take next.
All three evangelists also note that Jesus wanted to help Bartimaeus; he only waited for Bartimaeus to humbly name his need, to give witness to his faith and trust. “What do you want me to do for you?” And Bartimaeus did not hesitate to respond: “‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him. ‘Go, your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.”
Yes, in our world today, there are many problems without easy answers, solutions, or resolutions that we cannot see. Yes, our good God walks with us all the same, anxious to help those who walk in faith, wanting to cure the “blindness” of so many. The answers, solutions, resolutions to today’s urgent issues may not be apparent to us but, in God’s time, they will be. Our call is to heed St. Julie’s advice that “in times of darkness, we must remember what we saw in the light,” to see these times of question-filled crossroads as “graced crossroads,” (to borrow from the title of the recent book by Dr. Ted Dunn, CCS Publications, 2020), as “pathways of deep transformation” and healing. Our good God is close at hand and travels along with us. We have but to do as Bartimaeus did, to “call out all the more,” humbly name our need, the nature of the healing we desire for ourselves and for our world, and in that same spirit of faith.
Mark 10: 46-52
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
The Gospel of the Lord