SOUL FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY ADULT: October 28, 2012.

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.  October 28th, 2012.

See HomePage for ‘Mass Readings’ for this Sunday. The Gospel is from MARK 10:46-52.

Three blind mice?… Three blind men- and one who sees!

In just over two chapters, Mark shows us three blind men, and then a blind man who truly SEES. In today’s Gospel, just before Jesus goes up to Jerusalem for his Passion, he meets a blind man who truly SEES Jesus for who he is, and is healed by Jesus.

This healing of Bartimaeus, and the story of Bartimaeus’ faith in Jesus, the Son of David, is told by Mark as a contrast to the blindness of even the closest of the disciples of Jesus. Think back over the past few Sundays, from late Chapter 8 to the end of Chapter 10 of Mark.

  1. Peter professes faith in Jesus the Christ,- then tries to dissuade Jesus from his Passion, so that Jesus said to him ‘Get behind me, Satan!’. Peter thought he saw, but in reality he couldn’t see Jesus properly.
  2. After the Transfiguration, when Peter, James and John saw Jesus on the mountain, and after Jesus made a second prophecy about his passion, the disciples were arguing about which of them was the Greatest! They just didn’t get what Jesus was about, -they were blind.
  3. Then, after the third prophecy of his passion, James and John immediately want to claim the thrones on the right and left of Jesus, when he would come into his ‘kingdom’. They still didn’t see what Jesus was about.

Then, we are told about BARTIMAEUS, the SON OF TIMAEUS, a blind begger. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth who was passing by, he cried out on the top of his voice “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me!’ Twice he called out, even as the whole crowd tried to shut him up. Jesus called him over, asked him what he wanted, and Bartimaeus pointed to his eyes,- he couldn’t see, and he wanted to. ‘Lord, that I may see again!’  And his faith in Jesus made him SEE again.

Peter, James, John were BLIND to who Jesus really was. The blind man could SEE who Jesus was, -the Son of David, the one who was come into the world.

And once he SAW who Jesus was, we are told that ‘he followed him along the way’,-  a key word here, because the early disciples were known as ‘the followers of the Way’, meaning Jesus.

And where did the road/ the Way lead Jesus, and possibly Bartimaeus?

The old road from Jericho up to Jerusalem,- 3,300 of a climb, over 37km.

Straight up the hill, for 20 miles, and for over 3,300feet of a climb, from Jericho (850 feet below sea-level), to Jerusalem (2,500 feet above sea-level), to where Jesus immediately began his time of passion which even the closest disciples just could not understand.

Where did Bartimaeus finish up? He became a disciple as soon as his eyes were opened.  What roads did his following of Jesus lead him on? Was he himself martyred later, for ‘following the Way’? We don’t know.

But the disciples of Jesus, for whom Mark wrote down this around 67AD, – they too were being invited to ‘follow Jesus along the Way’, or ‘follow Jesus, the Way’,- even as they knew that this Way was leading them very possibly towards having to give their lives, shed their blood, in order to stay faithful to Jesus, the Risen Crucified Lord. Mark wanted their eyes to be opened, their blindness to who Jesus truly was, removed.

‘Change the name, and the story is about you’ and me,- today. (Horace: ‘Quid rides? Mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur.’)

Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.

email: seamus.devitt@redemptorists.ie

 Footnote:

Jericho (Ariha in Arabic) is the oldest inhabited town in the world, dating back more than 10,000 years. It lies 260 meters (853 feet) below sea level, making it the lowest city on earth.

Jerusalem is approximately 750 metres above sea level, or nearly 2,500 feet.

From Jericho to Jerusalem is uphill for 3,300 feet, or just over 1000 metres. It is located 36 km east of Jerusalem, Known as the “City of Palms”, Jericho contains some of the world’s most important historic sites and is frequently mentioned in the Bible.  Go down another 140 metres to reach the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on the surface of the earth.

For miles around, arid hills eroded by wind form a silent moonscape that is at once eerie and beautiful.

Here we find two cities of great contrast. It seems that Bartimaeus took the road from one towards the other, with Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

What happens if you deliberately put two stories back to back? You presume there is a strong connection between them. So, if St. Mark put two stories right beside each other, one following the other, what was his thinking? As well, he put two cities side by side, and why did he do this?

In the Gospel given for our reflection this weekend, we have Jesus entering and leaving the city of Jericho, and meeting blind Bartimaeus whom he heals. This is at the very end of Chapter 10, verses 46 to 52.

Then immediately after this, (in Mark 11, verse 1) Jesus and Bartimaeus and others walk all the way uphill to Jerusalem, where Jesus begins the week of his Passion. Bartimaeus ‘followed him along the road’, or the Way to his Passion.

Jericho is the lowest city on this planet, at 853 feet below sea-level (or 250 metres).  It is very close to the Dead Sea which is 400 metres below sea-level,- the lowest place on our planet.

 

On the other hand, Jerusalem is 2,500 feet, or 750 metres ABOVE sea-level.  Jesus and his disciples climbed up over 3300 feet in a stretch of just 20 miles (37 km.)  Immediately, we find Jesus on a donkey, about to enter Jerusalem and begin his Passion.

 

Three blind mice… three blind men!- and one who sees!  In just over two chapters, Mark shows us three blind men, and then a blind man who truly SEES. In today’s Gospel, just before Jesus goes up to Jerusalem for his Passion, he meets a blind man who truly SEES Jesus for who he is, and is healed by Jesus.

This healing of Bartimaeus, and the story of Bartimaeus’ faith in Jesus, the Son of David, is told by Mark as a contrast to the blindness of even the closest of the disciples of Jesus. Think back over the past few Sundays, from late Chapter 8 to the end of Chapter 10 of Mark.

  1. Peter professes faith in Jesus the Christ,- then tries to dissuade Jesus from his Passion, so that Jesus said to him ‘Get behind me, Satan!’. Peter thought he saw, but in reality he couldn’t see Jesus properly.
  2. After the Transfiguration, when Peter, James and John saw Jesus on the mountain, and after Jesus made a second prophecy about his passion, the disciples were arguing about which of them was the Greatest! They just didn’t get what Jesus was about, -they were blind.
  3. Then, after the third prophecy of his passion, James and John immediately want to claim the thrones on the right and left of Jesus, when he would come into his ‘kingdom’. They still didn’t see what Jesus was about.

Then, we are told about BARTIMAEUS, the SON OF TIMAEUS, a blind begger. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth who was passing by, he cried out on the top of his voice “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me!’ Twice he called out, even as the whole crowd tried to shut him up. Jesus called him over, asked him what he wanted, and Bartimaeus pointed to his eyes,- he couldn’t see, and he wanted to. And his faith in Jesus made him SEE again.

Peter, James, John were BLIND to who Jesus really was. The blind man could SEE who Jesus was, -the Son of David, the one who was come into the world.

And once he SAW who Jesus was, we are told that ‘he followed him along the way’,-  a key word here, because the early disciples were known as ‘the followers of the Way’, meaning Jesus.

And where did the road/ the Way lead him? Straight up the hill, for 20 miles, and for over 3,300feet of a climb, from Jericho (850 feet below sea-level, to 2,500 feet above sea-level), to where Jesus began his time of passion which the disciples just could not understand.

Where did Bartimaeus finish up? He became a disciple as soon as his eyes were opened.  What roads did his following of Jesus lead him on? Was he himself martyred later, for ‘following the Way’? We don’t know.

Change the name, and the story is about you and me. (Horace: ‘Quid rides? Mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur.’)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jericho (Ariha in Arabic) is the oldest inhabited town in the world, dating back more than 10,000 years. It lies 260 meters (853 feet) below sea level, making it the lowest city on earth.

Jerusalem is approximately 750 metres above sea level, or nearly 2,500 feet.

From Jericho to Jerusalem is uphill for 3,300 feet, or just over 1000 metres. It is located 36 km east of Jerusalem, Known as the “City of Palms”, Jericho contains some of the world’s most important historic sites and is frequently mentioned in the Bible.  Go down another 140 metres to reach the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on the surface of the earth.

For miles around, arid hills eroded by wind form a silent moonscape that is at once eerie and beautiful.

Here we find two cities of great contrast.

Reflection:

 

 

 

 

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