October 24
Chapter 10

The Blind Bartimaeus. 46 They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. 47 On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” 50 He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 51 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.” 52 Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

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Mk 10:46–52

Some people wanted to be freed from blindness others did not. Talk about prevalence of disabled in Ecuador. You can see what do you see that the blind do not

Jesus Hears Our Prayer

Jesus hears our prayer

2616 Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief) or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman). The urgent request of the blind men, “Have mercy on us, Son of David” or “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” has been renewed in the traditional prayer to Jesus known as the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” Healing infirmities or forgiving sins, Jesus always responds to a prayer offered in faith: “Your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (548; 2667)

St. Augustine wonderfully summarizes the three dimensions of Jesus’ prayer: “He prays for us as our priest, prays in us as our Head, and is prayed to by us as our God. Therefore let us acknowledge our voice in him and his in us.”

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CCC 2616
The Signs of the Kingdom of God

548 The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him.269 To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask.270 So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father’s works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God.271 But his miracles can also be occasions for “offense”;272 they are not intended to satisfy people’s curiosity or desire for magic. Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons.273 (156, 2616; 574; 447)

549 By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness, and death,274 Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below,275 but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God’s sons and causes all forms of human bondage.276 (1503; 440)

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CCC 548–549

Many blind people only some called out for healing

Letter CXLVII

9. Why is it that you disregard your own scars and try to defame others? Why is it that when I give you the best advice you attack me like a madman? It may be that I am as infamous as you publicly proclaim; in that case you can at least repent as heartily as I do. It may be that I am as great a sinner as you make me out; if so, you can at least imitate a sinner’s tears. Are my sins your virtues? Or does it alleviate your misery that many are in the same plight as yourself? Let a few tears fall on the silk and fine linen which make you so resplendent. Realize that you: are naked, torn, unclean, a beggar. It is never too late to repent. You may have gone down from Jerusalem and may have been wounded on the way; yet the Samaritan will set you upon his beast, and will bring you to the inn and will take care of you. Even if you are lying in your grave, the Lord will raise you though your flesh may stink. At least imitate those blind men for whose sake the Saviour left His home and heritage and came to Jericho. They were sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death when the light shone upon them. For when they learned that it was the Lord who was passing by they began to cry out saying: “Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.” You too will have your sight restored; if you cry to Him, and cast away your filthy garments at His call. “When thou shalt turn and bewail thyself then shalt thou be saved, and then shalt thou know where thou hast hitherto been.” Let Him but touch your scars and pass his hands over your eyeballs; and although you may have been born blind from the womb and although your mother may have conceived you in sin, he will purge you with hyssop and you shall be clean, he will wash you and you shall be whiter than snow. Why is it that you are bowed together and bent down to the ground, why is it that you are still prostrate in the mire? She whom Satan had bound for eighteen years came to the Saviour; and being cured by Him was made straight so that she could once more look up towards heaven. God says to you what He said to Cain: “Thou hast sinned: hold thy peace.” Why do you flee from the face of God and dwell in the land of Nod? Why do you struggle in the waves when you can plant your feet upon the rock? See to it that Phinehas does not thrust you through with his spear while you are committing fornication with the Midianitish woman. Amnon did not spare Tamar, and you her brother and kinsman in the faith have had no mercy upon this virgin. But why is it that when you have defiled her you change into an Absalom and desire to kill a David who mourns over your rebellion and spiritual death? The blood of Naboth cries out against you. The vineyard also of Jezreel, that is, of God’s seed, demands due vengeance upon you, seeing that you have turned it into a garden of pleasures and made it a seed-bed of lust. God sends you an Elijah to tell you of torment and of death. Bow yourself down therefore and put on sackcloth for a little while; then perhaps the Lord will say of you what He said of Ahab: “Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? Because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days.”

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The Letters of St. Jerome
Notes

a blind beggar, was sitting by the road: For an earlier healing of a blind man see Mark 8:22–26. The word for “beggar” (prosaitēs) is found only in John 9:8 elsewhere in the nt, though beggars were probably a common phenomenon in ancient Palestine. While here hodos (“road, way”) is simply a geographical indication, in 10:52 the same word functions theologically as a reference to the “way” of discipleship.

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Mk 10:46
Notes

have mercy on me: Bartimaeus’ cry for compassionate help is evidence of his faith in Jesus’ power to heal and in Jesus’ role as the agent of God’s mercy (see Luke 6:36). Bartimaeus the “beggar” asks not for money but for healing.

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Mk 10:47
Notes

48. many were rebuking him: For earlier uses of “rebuke” (epitiman) see 1:25; 3:12; 4:39; 8:30, 32, 33; 9:25; and 10:13. The fact that Bartimaeus is not dissuaded but shouts out all the more confirms the depth of his faith in Jesus.

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Mk 10:48
Notes

Take courage! Arise!: The verb tharsein appeared in Mark 6:50 when Jesus encouraged the disciples as he walked on the waters. The verb egeirein (see 1:31; 2:9, 11, 12; etc.) often has a hint of resurrection about it.

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Mk 10:49
Interpretation

Interpretation

The healing of blind Bartimaeus is on the surface a miracle story, but it is also, and more profoundly, a dialogue about faith. After setting the scene in 10:46 Mark narrates Bartimaeus’ repeated cry in vv. 47–48: “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus summons him in v. 49, Bartimaeus rushes to Jesus in v. 50. Jesus elicits his request (“that I may see again”) in v. 51, and in v. 52 declares him healed from his blindness (“your faith has saved you”), and Bartimaeus follows Jesus on the way up to Jerusalem.

The blind Bartimaeus displays prophetic insight. His choice of the epithet “Son of David” evokes Jesus’ royal lineage as well as contemporary Jewish traditions about Solomon as a magician and healer. The beggar Bartimaeus here asks for more than money (“that I may see again”), and he gets even more than he asks for (“your faith has saved you”). Bartimaeus emerges as an exemplar of faith in Jesus and seems to accept Jesus’ invitation to become his disciple.

As the conclusion of Mark’s journey narrative the Bartimaeus episode in 10:46–52 is linked to the earlier healing of a blind man in 8:22–26 (which constitutes the beginning of the journey). Besides bearing witness to Jesus’ power as a healer, the two accounts by their very position in Mark’s outline have obvious symbolic significance.

Both texts are stories about blind men who receive the gift of sight from Jesus, and both feature a large amount of dialogue. In 8:22–26 there are ritualistic or even magical elements (use of spittle, laying on of hands), whereas in 10:46–52 there are no healing actions or words, and what stands out is the faith of Bartimaeus (“your faith has saved you”). In 8:22–26 the healing is complicated and gradual, whereas in 10:46–52 it is immediate and complete. In 8:22–26 the man is sent home and told not to enter the village, while in 10:46–52 Bartimaeus follows Jesus on the way.

The Markan journey narrative has been primarily concerned with coming to see who Jesus is and what it means to follow him. At the outset Mark 8:22–26 reminds the reader how difficult it can be to see these things clearly, while at the end Mark 10:46–52 illustrates a clear-sighted faith in Jesus the Son of David as the agent of God’s healing power and the enthusiastic and wholehearted response that he evokes from people of faith. More important than the restoration of Bartimaeus’ physical sight is his spiritual insight into the person of Jesus.

The Bartimaeus story also serves as a bridge to the next phases in Mark’s story of Jesus’ public ministry: his teaching in deed and word in Jerusalem (chs. 11–12); his apocalyptic discourse (ch. 13); and his Passion, death, and resurrection (chs. 14–16). In Markan geography Jerusalem is the place where Jesus is rejected and put to death.

The way of Jesus turns out to be the way of the cross: the way of rejection by his Jewish contemporaries, the way of betrayal by his own disciples, and the way of suffering and death at the hands of the Jewish and Roman authorities. Along the journey described in 8:22–10:52 Jesus has taught his disciples who he is, what awaits him (see 8:31; 9:31; 10:33–34), and what it means to follow him. Bartimaeus has received the gift of sight and sets out on the way of Jesus: the way that leads to Jerusalem.

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Mk 10:46–52
Letter CXLVII

Even if you are lying in your grave, the Lord will raise you though your flesh may stink.9 At least imitate those blind men for whose sake the Saviour left His home and heritage and came to Jericho. They were sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death when the light shone upon them.10 For when they learned that it was the Lord who was passing by they began to cry out saying: “Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.”11 You too will have your sight restored; if you cry to Him, and cast away your filthy garments at His call.12 “When thou shalt turn and bewail thyself then shalt thou be saved, and then shalt thou know where thou hast hitherto been.”13 Let Him but touch your scars and pass his hands over your eyeballs; and although you may have been born blind from the womb and although your mother may have conceived you in sin, he will purge you with hyssop and you shall be clean, he will wash you and you shall be whiter than snow.14 Why is it that you are bowed together and bent down to the ground, why is it that you are still prostrate in the mire?

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The Letters of St. Jerome