Today’s Gospel readings contains a profound irony, that a blind man, Bartimaeus, is the first person outside of the Apostles to recognise Jesus as the Messiah. And his healing is the last miracle Jesus performs before entering the holy city of Jerusalem for His last week on earth. The scene on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem reminds us of the joyful procession prophesied by Jeremiah in today’s First Reading. In Jesus this prophecy is fulfilled. God, through the promised Messiah, is delivering His people from exile, bringing them back from the ends of the earth, with the blind and lame in their midst. Jesus, as Bartimaeus proclaims, is the long-awaited Son promised to David (see 2 Samuel 7:12–16; Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 23:5). Upon His triumphal arrival in Jerusalem, all will see that the everlasting kingdom of David has come (see Mark 11:9–10).
As we hear in today’s second reading from the letter to the Hebrews, the Son of David was expected to be the Son of God (see Psalm 2:7). He was to be a priest-king like Melchizedek (see Psalm 110:4), who offered bread and wine to God Most High at the dawn of salvation history (see Genesis 14:18–20). In this reading Bartimaeus becomes a symbol of his people, the captive Zion of whom we read of in today’s Psalm. His God has done great things for him. All his life has been sown in tears and weeping. Now, he reaps a new life. Bartimaeus, too, should be a sign for us. How often Christ passes us by in the person of the poor, and in the person we have grown to dislike or hate, and yet we often fail to see Him. Christ still calls to us through His Church, as Jesus sent His Apostles to call Bartimaeus. Yet how often are we found to be listening instead to the voices of the crowd, not hearing the words of His Church. Today Jesus asks us what He asks Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?” Rejoicing, let us ask the same thing of Him, what can we do for all that He has done for us?