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Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Journey of faith

Today’s Gospel pictures Jesus in Jericho, before the ascent to Jerusalem. He makes a last sign: healing a blind man, named Bartimaeus. 
 
In Mark’s intention, Bartimaeus is the image of the disciple who finally opens his eyes to the light of Jesus and decides to follow him along the way.
 
The first frame shows the beggar “sitting along the way.” He represents the man who is not yet enlightened by the Gospel and by the light of Easter. 
 
The first step he takes to recovery is the awareness of his situation, here spiritual blindness. Only those who realise that they are leading a meaningless, unacceptable life, decide to look for a way out. Bartimaeus gathers his wits to scream, asking for help from Jesus; he no longer wants to stay in his state of life.
 
The meeting with those who follow Jesus is the first step towards the light (v. 47). Before reaching Christ one runs into the disciples and there are difficulties to overcome.
 
Even those who accompany Jesus can be an impediment to those who try to approach the light of the gospel. 
 
It seems impossible that the group of disciples, who followed Jesus from Galilee, can still be spiritually blind and be a hindrance to those who want to meet Christ. Even at Jericho, many rebuked Bartimaeus to “keep quiet,” and this continues to happen today.
 
“Jesus hears the cry of Bartimaeus,” and demands that he be brought before him. His call does not directly reach the blind; there is someone responsible for passing it on. These mediators represent the true followers of Christ, who are sensitive to the cry of those who seek the light. They encourage an encounter with the Lord. “Take heart! Get up, he is calling you”.
 
And so we come to the last stage. The blind man “jumps up, throws off his mantle and runs” to the one who can give him sight. The actions of the blind man have a symbolic value and a theological message to communicate.
 
In Israel, the “mantle” was considered the only asset owned by the poor, “is all the covering he has for his body. In what else will he sleep?” (Exodus 22:26). Like any beggar, Bartimaeus puts himself on his knees and uses them to gather alms. The act of abandoning it, along with a few coins that passersby kindly placed there, indicates the complete detachment from the state in which he lived. He is no longer interested in the life he led up to that moment.
 
The story ends with the dialogue between Jesus and the blind man. Jesus asks everyone who seeks the light to make his profession of faith, to believe in the one who can open his eyes. 
 
 
● Father Fernando Armellini SCJ 
Claretian Publications
https://sundaycommentaries.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/30th-sunday-in-ordinary-time-year-b-october-28-2018/
Translated by Father John Ladesma SDB
Abridged by Father Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF