Ordinary Time 30, Year B
- You are saying, “We see,” so your sin remains (Jn. 9:41)
Many apparently found bothersome Bartimaeus’ cry, and so they decided to rebuke him.
If I were there then, I would undoubtedly have asked him also to be silent. Eager to see and hear Jesus and to get to Jerusalem in his company—albeit more out of curiosity, perhaps, than out of devotion, out of selfish rather than disinterested expectations—I would not want anyone to steal the show and call more attention than Jesus himself, or to delay the arrival to the holy city. I would not be amused either should anyone make so much noise that I miss some of Jesus’ words. Wanting to pay Jesus serious attention, I would not take Timaeus’ son seriously and I would underestimate his determination
But Jesus took seriously the one who sat by the roadside begging. He did not spurn or disdain the misery of the poor nor did he turn away from him, but heard him when he cried out (cf. Ps. 22: 25; 9:13). So, he was attended to, the blind man, and he was granted what he wanted the Master to do for him. And what happened was that Bartimaeus did not only receive his sight, but he also ended up following Jesus on the way
Those who truly follow Jesus in the messianic march—each one with mouth filled with laughter and tongue with rejoicing—are the poor and the afflicted, among whom are the blind, the lame, the mothers and those with child. Their poverty and affliction predispose them to insisting to shout the louder, “Son of David, have pity on us.” And praying that they be delivered from the evils they endure, they remind themselves—to borrow from St. Augustine—that they do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in which they will suffer no evil, and consequently, they continue on their pilgrimage toward the lasting city of justice and peace, of total liberation, all the while giving thanks to him who delivers them from their mortal bodies through Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest (cf. Heb. 13:13-15; Rom. 7:15-25).
The church, then, the new pilgrim people of God made up of the followers of Jesus, is the “Church of the Poor.” The life of this church throbs in the hearts especially of the poor and there digs deep roots (cf. Father Bob Maloney’s “Ten Helpful Distinctions” in the Oct. 14, 1995 issue of America). Neither moved by curiosity nor deceived by false expectations of a worldly kingdom, this pilgrim church asserts with great insistence her preferential option for the poor and sees to it that the social doctrine she teaches is more than just an eloquently stated, but still theoretical assertion (cf. Father Bob Maloney’s “An Upside-Down Sign” ).
Now, until I grasp this truth—theoretically and practically, affectively and effectively, convinced that “the real Church heroes are those who dine with the needy, who ladle out soup in a hostel for the homeless, or who search to find the causes of poverty and ways of eradicating it”—I will remain in my blindness without knowing it. And not knowing it, I will not see any need to cry out, “Son of David, have pity on me,” much less, to follow Jesus on the way.