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Bartimaeus, the blind man:“Your faith has saved you” (Mk 10:46-52)

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In this passage of the Gospel, Mark gives an account of Jesus’ last stop before entering Jerusalem. Jesus’ long journey is about to end. It began in Caesarea Philippi (Mk 8:27) with Jerusalem as the final destination (10:32),passing through Jericho, a beautiful, rich and friendly town; a green oasis in the desert. Mark the Evangelist records the progressive stops along this journey as well as the teachings. On three occasions the Master announced that He wasn’t going towards His earthly triumph but rather His passion and death, followed by His resurrection. Furthermore, He insistently repeated that whosoever wanted to follow Him and be His disciple would have to radically change his way of thinking and acting. On Jesus’ way to Jerusalem, many ran up to meet Him: the weak, the lepers, and the sick. They all wanted to get near and speak to Him. Jesus received them all. A request made with faith was Jesus’ only requirement.


The Gospel speaks to us of blindness, which is often the metaphor for the darkness of sin and of the soul and lack of faith.

Jesus also spoke to Luisa many times about the darkness of sin and of the blindness of men caused by pride that slowly eats away at Grace. In the hearts of the proud there is only emptiness full of smoke, which produces blindness. Pride only makes an idol of oneself, because in a proud soul God is not present. In his heart a proud person tries to destroy God and build an altar on which he sits and adores himself.

In the midst of so much darkness, today,acry is heard: «Rabboni, let me see again!».

The healing of Bartimaeus, the blind man of Jericho, marks a point of arrival and a new departure within the context of the Mark’s Gospel. It is the last healing miracle wrought by Jesus at the conclusion of a series of moral teachings; and it is the point of departure towards Jerusalem where He will live out the events of His last week on earth: Holy Week, from the triumphant entrance into the city to His passion and resurrection.


This chapter of Mark’s Gospel focuses on rethinking the most profound human attitude sand it ends with a very meaningful story; a sort of gospel within the Gospel. It is a synthesis of the journey of those who have been touched by the goodness of the Lord. A story in which, once again, three points of contrast are grouped together.


The figure of Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus was not born blind. Like many he enjoyed the gift of sight, and perhaps he never thought about the darkness of being blind. But one day he was affected by a progressive and relentless illness, which at that time was very common and practically incurable. The horizon grew darker and darker for Bartimaeus. He became blind and poor, as often happened in those times.

His name was Bar-Timaeus, in other words, “son of Timaeus”. He was one of the very few who were healed by Jesus and mentioned by name. The Gospel rarely reveals the identity of a person who received a miracle. But this time even the father’s name, Timaeus, is mentioned as well as the place, Jericho. Because of his blindness Bartimaeus had to give up earning a living with his own hands and was forced to beg. He would spend the day sitting by the side of the road that from Jericho leads to Jerusalem. He had heard – maybe from his father Timaeus–about this Jesus of Nazareth who worked miracles, who restored sight to the blind as foretold by the prophets.

He became blind, but the years spent as a blind man allowed Bartimaeus to develop a very fine hearing. The noisy crowd that was approaching could not escape his attention. Something extraordinary was about to happen. Jesus was passing by, the Son of David, the Messiah! While those who accompanied the Master“ ordered Bartimaeus to keep still, he shouted the louder”, calling Him by a particular messianic title:«Son of David, take pity on me!». An exclamation that was full of faith! The invocation of a true disciple!

A third aspect: before his encounter with Jesus, the blind man had been a beggar who sat by the roadside begging for alms. After meeting Jesus and regaining his sight, he set out to follow Jesus on His journey. Begging at the side of the road, following the One who is recognized as Master and Messiah -this is the difference that spells out faith!


In the early Church this passage of the Gospel was read in the catechesis that preceded Baptism to explain the transition from the darkness of sin to the light of life in Christ, through faith.

Bartimaeus represents the disciple who opens his eyes to the light of the Master and decides to follow Him along the way. Bartimaeus is an icon of faith, the type of faith that moves mountains and works miracles.

The blindness of the eyes symbolizes the darkness of the soul and lack of faith. The healing of the eyes symbolizes the new outlook on faith that allows a person to see reality in a different light.


Restoring sight to the blind man is an expression of joy, liberation and salvation. Whoever in the Bible receives this benefit from God becomes the object of love and predilection of the same God, in the consolation and freshness of a new life.

The blind beggar represents humanity that lies in the darkness of ignorance and sin. Only by acknowledging Jesus as the “Son of David” is it possible to regain sight in order to follow Him on the path of suffering and martyrdom.


“Go! Your faith has saved you”. With this statement Jesus dismisses Bartimaeus, who had pleaded to hear his cry. The Master not only intervened in a prodigious way, making him regain his sight in an act of compassion, but also lauded the faith of the poor blind man, who from the beginning had called Him “Son of David”, acknowledging Him as the Messiah Savior. In the son of Timaeus Jesus saw a deep faith that merited him to regain his sight. Jesus not only healed Bartimaeus but saved him thanks to his faith.


The story of Bartimaeus is also our story as believers, who through our Baptism have opened our eyes to the Truth of God, which is Jesus Christ. Now, these eyes that are no longer blind must be capable of welcoming the presence of the Lord, who always passes through our lives and brings salvation in our personal history, as well as in the great history of all mankind.

Following Christ also means knowing how to make this presence live and work in our times, a presence that beckons towards eternal salvation and even temporal salvation, because only in Christ is there light, justice and peace; only in Him is there true joy.


Bartimaeus’ life is a new life illuminated by the light of Jesus, which is capable of releasing man from the shadow of sin and of manifesting the Kingdom of the “Fiat” that Jesus wants to happen“ on earth as it is in Heaven”.

All the works that Jesus carried out to redeem man, even the miracles, were nothing more than a recalling of the reign of the “Supreme Fiat” in the midst of creatures. And while He performed them He would ask His Father to let It be known and to restore It for all generations.

When Jesus restored sight to the blind, His first act was to put to flight the darkness of the human will, which is the first cause of blindness of the body and soul. His light would enlighten the many souls who were blind so that they could gain their sight and gaze upon the Will of God and love It; in this way even their bodies would be exempt from losing their sight.

There wasn’t one act done by Jesus on earth in which He didn’t place His Will as the first act to restore all things in the midst of creatures, because this is what was dearest to His heart. If it were not so, or if He hadn’t done this in what he operated and suffered as acts to restore the Kingdom of the ‘Supreme Fiat’, His coming upon earth would have brought about a good that was only partially complete for all generations, and God the Father’s glory would not have been completely reinstated by Him. The Will of God is the source of all good, and It is the sole purpose of creation and redemption; thus, It becomes the final fulfillment of all the divine works. Consequently, without this Will the most beautiful works accomplished by God are begun but not completed. Because only She (Divine Will) is the crown of her work sand the seal that these works are completed.

The Divine Will never leaves us alone. It always looks at us to penetrate into our thoughts, our words and our smallest acts. But It wants our attention, and in the act of looking at each other It wants to gift us and in exchange wants us to receive Its light and love.

Attention is the eye of the soul that knows how to recognize the gift that God wants to give and thus disposes the act to receive it. God doesn’t want to give His goods to the blind. He wants us to see and know them, because in seeing them we can appreciate His gift and by knowing the gift we are capable of loving Him ;then He will make us feel His light, His power, His love and how we can love the Divine Will. So the first thing that God does in a person who wishes to live in the Divine Willis to give eyes to gaze at and know each other, and once the two have become acquainted, everything is done.


The miracle that restores Bartimaeus’ sight is meant to represent the presence and the light of Christ that heal the man in his entirety, who from being a blind beggar becomes rich through the gift of sonship, capable of following his Master. Indeed, he becomes the Master’s companion and with Him walks the path that leads to the Father.

To do this one must find the courage to trust the Son of David. It means to stand up and take the first steps to begin a new life, to close with a past of darkness and to open oneself to the light of Christ. Jesus is the source of this change; it is He who transforms life. Only Christ is our true guide and light!

However, to trust and to rely on Jesus means to have faith. It is faith that saves: “Go! Your faith has saved you”.



don Marco
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