The story of Bartimaeus

May 28, 2015

Thursday, 8th Week in Ordinary Time
 1st Reading: Sir 42:15-25

  Gospel: Mk 10:4652

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth passing by, he began to call out, “Son of David, Jesus, have mercy on me!” Many people scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man saying, “Take heart. Get up, he is calling you.” He immediately threw aside his cloak, jumped up and went to Jesus.
Then Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Master, let me see again!” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way, your faith has made you well.” And immediately he could see, and he followed Jesus along the road.


(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

When  the disciples called Bartimaeus over at the instruction of Jesus, “he immediately threw aside his cloak, jumped up and went to Jesus” (verse 50). This is not the first time we read about cloaks in St. Mark’s Gospel. In Mark 2:21, the word cloak appears in Jesus’ teaching about the impropriety of sewing a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. In Mark 5:25-30 a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years got cured after she touched the cloak of Jesus. In Mark 6:56 people begged Jesus to allow them to touch even just the fringe of his cloak. At the Transfiguration (Mark 9:3) the cloak of Jesus became dashingly white, and at Jesus entry to Jerusalem (Mark 11:7-8) people spread their cloaks on the road for him. Mark 13:16 is an apocalyptic advice for a man in the fields not to turn back to fetch his cloak. During the Passion (Mark15:20) soldiers removed the purple cloak from Jesus and clothed him in his own clothes. At the foot of the cross (Mark 15:24) Roman soldiers drew lots over Jesus’ cloak.

His cloak took special significance in the hands of Bartimaeus when he set it aside when Jesus called for him. The act was a fitting symbol of setting aside the old man. The circumstance of blindness reinforced the symbolism of that spiritual encounter where Bartimaeus saw Jesus with the eyes of faith. Faith empowered him to proclaim Jesus as “Son of David.” The spiritual vision of Bartimaeus stood in stark contrast with the ‘blindness’ of the Apostles who were still preoccupied with where to sit in the kingdom of heaven even while escorting Jesus to Jerusalem to die.

Like Jesus’ followers of old we too ‘see’ him in the Eucharist we celebrate. Are we willing to set aside our old selves as Bartimaeus did when he symbolically set aside his cloak? Unless we set aside our old selves, our discipleship will always be conditioned by what we can get in return for following Jesus. That would be blindness worse that Bartimaeus’!  – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM., MAPM. ( Website:

Prayer for the day: God our Father, open our eyes so that we may see you and so resolutely abandon our old selves. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


SAINT OF THE DAY: MARGARET POLE was born of noble origin in 1471 in England.  In 1491, she married Sir Richard Pole. Unfortunately, her husband passed away and she was left to care for their five children. King Henry VIII was very fond of her and appointed her Countess of Salisbury. Upon learning of the King’s intention to marry Anne Boleyn, she expressed her disapproval and thus incurred the ire of the king. Her son, Reginald Cardinal Pole, wrote against the act of Supremacy which further enraged King Henry VIII.  He had her imprisoned in the Tower of London. She was accused of having participated in the rebellion. Margaret, who was already seventy years old, was beheaded without a trial during another revolution in April 1541. Pope Leo XIII beatified her in 1886.