Daily Gospel Reflection – Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
Bishop Robert Barron
June 1, 2023 Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
Gospel: Mk 10:46-52
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.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus heals a blind man. Physical blindness is an evocative symbol of the terrible blindness of the soul that all of us sinners experience. When the pusilla anima (small soul) reigns, when the imago Dei (image of God) is covered over, we see within the narrow spectrum of our fearful desires.
Blind Bartimaeus, sitting helplessly by the road outside of Jericho begging for alms and attention, expresses this hopeless and darkened-over state of soul. When he hears that Jesus of Nazareth is in the vicinity, he begins to cry out, “Son of David, have pity on me.” The original Greek here is eleēson me, beautifully reflective of the liturgical cry of the church, Kyrie eleison, Lord have mercy. Bartimaeus gives voice to the prayerful groaning of the whole people of God for release from the imprisonment of the small soul.
Though he is reprimanded by the crowd, Bartimaeus continues to shout until finally Jesus calls out to him. This is the summons that echoes from the very depths of one’s own being, the call of the magna anima (great soul), the invitation to rebirth and reconfiguration. Inspired by this voice and convinced that he has discovered the pearl of great price, the unum necessarium (one thing necessary), Bartimaeus jumps up and comes to Jesus.