As always, Jesus challenges us in our Gospel this weekend to stop and consider our lives in a deeper manner. The scene before us this weekend has Jesus surrounded by blindness. Not a lack of optical function – but a lack of perception from those who surround him. His own disciples scold poor Bartimeus, the twelve seem blind to the purpose of his mission, many in the crowd appear to follow him not out of love but self interest, and of course the Roman authorities are lurking close by looking for the chance to arrest him. In the midst of this scene perhaps its no surprise that Jesus should use Bartimeus to show us his mission of healing the blindness of the world.
Scripture scholars will tell us that in the plea for help from Bartimeus we have the first instance of the title ‘son of David’. Mysteriously it is a blind man who first ‘sees’ Jesus for who he is. And then in recognizing Jesus, Bartimeus throws off his cloak and runs to Him. The significance of the cloak? This blind beggar would have treasured his cloak above almost anything else. It kept him warm, it provided him shelter, and it would have been into this cloak that people would have dropped the pennies he needed to eek out an existence. In leaving his cloak behind Bartimeus cast off all his worldly security in order to come to Jesus. So, despite his blindness, Bartimeus shows us the way of discipleship. In the week before us, lets ask the Lord to open our eyes to the challenges and joys of being a disciple of ‘Jesus, son of David…”