24th October, 2021

Feet and hands of a beggar

Courage, get up; Jesus is calling you.

Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Mk 10:46-52

As you know in all the Gospels, according to: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we can find many interesting miracles and healings performed by Jesus. We can hear about them quite often, mainly here in the church, but also when we read and meditate on Bible passages in our homes. Perhaps some of us do it on a regular basis, and some may even have experienced miracles of healing personally and could say more about it today. Anyway, I am sure that most of these wonders and signs performed by Jesus inspire us and encourage us to deepen our faith and relationship with God, and also to pray and trust.

Today we heard a very short Gospel that beautifully describes the healing of a blind beggar named Bartimaeus. At the beginning of our reflection, I would like to invite you to answer two very simple questions: What makes this particular gospel and this particular miracle different from many other miracles performed by Jesus? And the second question is: What we can actually find interesting in this short passage. There are few points that I would like to draw your attention to. First of all, as you may have noticed, the evangelist Mark remembered and mentioned the name of the blind beggar, which is quite unusual. His name was Bartimaeus – son of Timeus, so we can assume that it was a very significant event and a very important figure. It was hi who – as the Gospel says – was sitting at the side of the road and waiting.

The second thing that I find very interesting is the humble request of this beggar, who at first very gently and shyly said to Jesus: Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me, but a few moments later much more courageously, firmly and with great determination shouted: Son of David, have pity on me. He did not get discouraged when people scolded him and tried to silence him, and I think that his persistence, and determination can be a good example for us, especially for our prayers. When we ourselves are depressed and overwhelmed by various problems, when we experience all kinds of difficulties in our lives, abandonment, loneliness, and when we struggle to see any light and hope around us – it is worth remembering this particular scene and this beautiful attitude of Bartimaeus, his patience, trust and persistence.

The third thing that inspired me when I pondered this passage, and that I want to share with you today, are two completely different attitudes of the people who accompanied Bartimaeus before he met Jesus. As we heard, some of them scolded this poor man, and told him to be quiet. Others, on the other hand, told him something completely different, something very optimistic and encouraging: Courage, get up; he is calling you. I think at this stage of our reflection each of us can ask ourselves a very important question. Which of these attitudes is close to me and where can I find myself in this particular Gospel? Perhaps I am like this beggar, who did not give up easily and who did not get discouraged when others scolded him, but was very persistent in his efforts, endeavours and prayers. Or maybe sometimes I am like those selfish people who stood aside and did not want to hear and see this poor man who was disturbing them and bothering Jesus. Or maybe – please God – we are like those people who showed compassion and did everything they could to help and bring relief to this beggar.

Today’s Gospel gives us a very simple message, that sometimes literally few words are enough to change someone’s life and make someone a little happier. We don’t have to do much; we don’t have to do any spectacular miracles and healings; we can always try but they are often beyond our human abilities, I am afraid. We don’t have to do great things, because Jesus will do all the great things for us if we humbly ask Him and if we bring to him those of our brothers and sisters who need His divine touch and healing. And what today’s gospel invites us to do is – as saint John Paul II said – to have and develop in ourselves a new imagination of mercy – or in other words – our creativity in charity. What does this mean in practice and how to apply these words? As we have seen today, one little encouragement was enough to completely change Bartimaeus’ life and make him happy – Courage, get up; Jesus is calling you. And this is the imagination of mercy – which means – our willingness to open our eyes wider to see our brothers and sisters in need.

Let us think for a moment what we can do, and how we can develop – in our parish community and also in ourselves – a new imagination of mercy, our personal creativity in charity. And the last question we can ask ourselves today is: To whom can we say these beautiful words of encouragement during this week we are starting today? Courage, get up; Jesus is calling you. I am sure that there are many people who are waiting and who would like to hear these simple words from us.

Fr Gregory