30 Sunday B
Oct 28 Homilies
Today’s Gospel is a classic example of Mark’s use of miracle stories. He uses them to makea catechetical point, not to overwhelm the reader with Jesus’s power.
Mark does not deny the power, but emphasizes rather our desire to understand, to grasp, tofind meaning.
If you want really to see who you are and what you’re life is about, you must listen closely
to Jesus, not seeking words which will serve your own agenda, but rather words whichchallenge you, make you think, force you to reflect.
Once upon a time a very wealthy Yuppie and his girlfriend went on a trip to Africa to huntlions
with a camera because they were politically correct YuppiesThey were shocked and disgusted by the poverty, the corruption, the hunger, and the sicknessof the people in these countries. They told each other repeatedly how everything would befine in Africa if the local people simply had a sense of initiative and responsibility anddeveloped a work ethic something like the American one.As a matter of solemn principle they refused to give money to beggars. When they camehome they told everyone that they would never go back
the lions were as lazy as the rest of the people in Africa.
There was no point, they said in spending their tax dollars to help those who wouldn’t helpthemselves. Didn’t you have any sympathy with those poor people, another Yuppie asked
them.How can you sympathize, they said, with those who
aren’t ready to help themselves?!
The story of the healing of Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, brings to a close the section of Mark that began in 8:27 (the twenty-fourth Sunday of the year). As we have seen the focus hasbeen on the meaning and demands of discipleship. Just prior to this incident Jesus has spokento James and John saying to them, 'What do you want me to do for you?' Now he uses thesame words, not to one of his closest companions but to a blind beggar sitting by the roadwho is crying out to him in desperation. James and John were seeking glory, Bartimaeus justwants to see and to gain that he throws away the only thing he owns, his cloak, lest it impedehim in his journey to Jesus. His prayer is granted, he receives perfect sight and his response isto follow Jesus along the way. Jesus is leaving Jericho and heading for Jerusalem and soBartimaeus is presented to us not simply as a recipient of the healing ministry of Jesus but asthe model disciple who begs for sight so that he can follow Jesus to the cross and beyond. Inthe gospel, sight is often used as a metaphor for faith, being able to see God at work and tofollow in the steps of Jesus.----------------------Michel DeVerteuil