30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Mark 10:46-52
I once worked with a missionary sister in Memphis. She was previously stationed in the Fiji Islands and was going to go to Massachusetts next. I asked her how that all worked. She said, “You go to where you are needed, but not necessarily wanted, and you stay until you are wanted but no longer needed.”
Good words to appreciate the witness of missionaries on this World Mission Sunday, but also fitting words for our Gospel today. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where his mission will find completion and fulfillment. Today he is in Jericho, and this story of giving sight to Bartimaeus is not just another healing, it’s the final lesson, to those who are with him, about what discipleship is all about. After today, no more practice, no more teaching, it’s game time in Jerusalem.
And it is Bartimaeus who really gets this final lesson. He leaves behind his clock, springs up and goes to follow Jesus. Right there we learn that he casts aside what used to protect him, finds new energy and decides that Jesus is his way to new life. Jesus doesn’t need to teach anymore; Bartimaeus has become the lesson.
As we approach the end of the Gospel of Mark and the liturgical year, it’s good to ask what lessons about discipleship we have learned and put into action. Jesus is still calling disciples to cast aside former comforts and take on his new way. How much progress have we made?