October 25, 2012
Reflection on the Sunday's readings: Daniel
Daniel's previous reflections
Faith in Jesus
– Mark 10:46-52
In my country to shout in public is considered to be impolite. Although it can happen among the young, when they call the names of their friends, nevertheless it rarely happens. And if someone dares to shout in order to draw attention of a political or religious leader, s/he would end up being accosted by the police. So the basic cultural rule of my society is: “don’t shout. It is not proper.”
the blind beggar, did not adhere to the above mentioned rule, and shouted after
Jesus, trying to get His attention. What can make a person to lose face, to
overcome shyness and fear, and cause a commotion? Why did his story find its way
to the Gospel account of Jesus’ life? What makes it so particular?
is that you shout?
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mark 10”47). It is a confession of faith. It is worth mentioning that beside Peter and demons, nobody else in the Gospel addressed Jesus in this way. Peter confessed, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29); in fear and trembling, demons shouted: “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24); “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” (Mark 5:7). Those are messianic titles that reveal Jesus true identity. Using those expressions, all of them were confessing that Jesus was not just a mere human; He was the expected Messiah, who will save God’s people, gathering them from all nations, leading blind, and lame, and women in labor, the most vulnerable group of people, into safety (Jeremiah 31:8). Jesus ordered demons to be quiet, and told Peter to keep it secret. Bartimaeus, on the other hand, was allowed to proclaim to the whole world his expectant faith in Jesus as the Messiah.
is that you shout? What is your profession of faith? My profession of faith came
about during a memorable night, when I had to fight for my life against a
malaria attack, at a mission station in East Timor. Loosing my battle against
the deadly parasites, which were taking over my whole body and slowly finding
their way to the brain, I repeatedly shouted: “Jesus, save me!” There was no
time for long and elaborated prayers, or for special rituals; in such moments
you do not fake your spirituality; you either have it or not. “Jesus, save
me!” He was the only One I could think of in that moment. And He did not fail
do you shout?
“When he [Bartimaeus] heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout” (Mark 10:47). Until that chapter, his name was not mentioned by the author of the Gospel of Mark. Bartimaeus did not belong to the circle of the closest disciples of Jesus. He was a blind beggar. But Jesus’ fame reached his ears. I guess he attentively listened to all the stories the people were spreading about Jesus’ teaching and miracles. The stories were so amazing that his heart definitively had to beat fast with hope and excitement. Perhaps, during the night, he was dreaming of meeting Jesus and asking Him for healing. Perhaps, he even asked God: “God! Help me to meet Jesus.” Yes. Bartimaeus was shouting, because he believed in Jesus. That is the amazing thing about our faith: the impossible becomes real. Bartimaeus began to believe that Jesus can make him to see.
do you shout? How great is your faith in Jesus? We often take our faith for
granted. We seldom read the Bible, we seldom talk about Jesus and the many
amazing things He has done in the lives of many. The sad truth is that many of
us know more about contemporary celebrities and politicians than about Jesus.
Moreover, even in our devotional life Jesus is often hidden by the Virgin Mary
or the Saints. Who among us know that Jesus spoke with authority, that He showed
courage, that He feared neither the mighty of this world nor the indignation of
the people who expected Him to be a political Messiah? You can only shout,
“Jesus, have mercy on me,” when you get to know Him, and that
faith-knowledge makes you truly believe that He can save you.
do you shout?
“Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet” (Mark 10:48). It was right after his conversion. It took place during the family reunion, when Peter began to share his newly found faith. Suddenly, his aunt – the one with whom he always had a very good relation – angrily shouted: “Shout up! I do not want to hear these things!” And while he was in the state of shock and unable to react, the topic of the conversation changed.
It is interesting to see that those who wanted Bartimaeus to be quiet were those who were leaving Jericho with Jesus. And it is often the case: in order to reach Jesus, you have to bypass the circle of the so-called pious ones, and those who assume that they know you well. Jesus was always surrounded by the crowds of followers and worshipers, but only those who touched Him, who came forward, were healed and saved. Think about the sick woman, who touched Jesus, while He was in the company of a large crowd (Mark 5:24-29); think about Jairus being told that his daughter was dead, having already secured Jesus’ willingness to come to his house and to heal her (Mark 5:35-43).
do you shout? Is it just one deep sigh that not even Jesus can hear? Is it a
timid cry that dies when you are ridiculed or intimidated? Or is it a loud shout
that the whole world can hear, and no matter how strongly you are opposed you
continue shouting? “Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted
all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ ” (Mark 10:47).
- He got what he dreamed about and followed Jesus
Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, found his way to Jesus’ story of life, not without reasons. He exemplifies the life of a Christian. He proclaimed his faith in Jesus openly; he believed that only Jesus can change his tragic situation; and he had the courage to stand up for what he believed in. Because of these, he was rewarded. Jesus heard his cry: “ ‘Go,’ said Jesus, ‘your faith has healed you’ ” (Mark 10:52). A new life had dawned on him and he decided that it was worth being dedicated to following the One who saved him.
Now look at yourself and your life. Jesus is about to leave your place, your city. You know your problem, you know your sickness. Will you shout in order to draw His attention? Will you shout with faith and with determination? Jesus hears your cry and He calls you to himself, asking: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 51). What are you going to say? One thing you have to bear in mind. Meeting Jesus will change you for ever. You cannot go back to your old place, pretending that you are still blind and trying to beg again. No. The old is gone, the new has begun. You are embarking on the adventurous journey of following Jesus, the One who saved you. Have no fear in following Him.