May 27, 2021
Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Now will I recall God’s works;
what I have seen, I will describe.
At God’s word were his works brought into being;
they do his will as he has ordained for them.
As the rising sun is clear to all,
so the glory of the LORD fills all his works;
Yet even God’s holy ones must fail
in recounting the wonders of the LORD,
Though God has given these, his hosts, the strength
to stand firm before his glory.
He plumbs the depths and penetrates the heart;
their innermost being he understands.
The Most High possesses all knowledge,
and sees from of old the things that are to come:
He makes known the past and the future,
and reveals the deepest secrets.
No understanding does he lack;
no single thing escapes him.
Perennial is his almighty wisdom;
he is from all eternity one and the same,
With nothing added, nothing taken away;
no need of a counselor for him!
How beautiful are all his works!
even to the spark and fleeting vision!
The universe lives and abides forever;
to meet each need, each creature is preserved.
All of them differ, one from another,
yet none of them has he made in vain,
For each in turn, as it comes, is good;
can one ever see enough of their splendor?
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.
”Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.
”He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.
”Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.
”Immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.
Do you have memories, as a child, that come back to you crystal clear? I do. And they usually are associated with a time when I was afraid.
I remember once when I was about 4 or 5, going swimming at a creek. We didn’t have fancy cement ponds in East Texas.
In the middle of the creek, there was a small island that had formed over time with an old tree trunk that leaned out over the water. Everyone would go to the island and dive off the trunk into the water.
My dad took me out to the island and set me off and then swam back to shore. His expectation was that I would jump off the limb and swim to shore. He was to be sorely disappointed.
As a child, I knew what was under the surface of that water. There were sea monsters waiting for me to jump in and they would eat me.
Coax as he would, he didn’t get me to jump off that island until he came out and I jumped into the safety of his arms. I had faith that my father wouldn’t allow anything bad to happen to me.
Today, in this Gospel reading from Mark, Bartimaeus – a blind beggar sitting on the side of the road hears that Jesus is coming. He decides to “jump off that island” into the waiting arms of Jesus.
I have said that it’s the little things that count when you read scripture. Focusing on the big stuff misses out on some amazing instances.
When Bartimaeus began to call out to Jesus, the crowd began to tell him to be quiet and leave Jesus alone – to shut up, if you will. But instead, he calls out even louder, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.
”The crowd was large, and the noise must have been deafening, so we can imagine how loud the blind beggar must have yelled to be heard – but Jesus did hear him – above all the noise and chaos – Jesus heard him and told his Apostles, “Call him.”
When the crowd who had been saying for him to be quiet said now, “Stand up, Jesus is calling you”, the first thing he did was to stand up and toss aside his cloak. It’s the little things. You see, Bartimaeus was a blind beggar which meant he slept out in the open with nothing but his cloak to lie upon and keep him warm. But his faith in Jesus was so great he was willing to leave behind his greatest possession – his cloak.
He might never have found his cloak if Jesus didn’t heal him. But he believed Jesus was going to save him from the sea monsters below the surface just like the child believed his father wouldn’t allow anything to get him.
Brothers and sisters, we need that faith. We need to believe like the blind beggar and the little boy. We need to “know” we are safe with Jesus just like a child with their fathers.
Put aside our fears and jump. Set aside our cloak and believe.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…