Bartimaeus is a richly described character in Mark´s gospel. We learn that he is a blind, roadside beggar who was unafraid to raise his voice when he learned that Jesus was passing by. Though told to be quiet, he raises his voice yet again to get Jesus´ attention. Finally, when he learns that he is being called, he “throws off” his cloak and “jumps” to his feet.
In Bartimaeus we see perseverance, a desire for healing, and maybe most importantly his enthusiasm. He does not want this moment to pass by. His engagement with the present moment, with the reality that surrounds him, is passionate.
At the end of the story, Jesus tells him that it was his faith that saved him. Given the actions of Bartimaeus in the story, we might say that it was his passion and enthusiasm that saved him. Faith in this story has something to do with “throwing off our cloak” and “jumping to our feet”.
We might ask ourselves then: what makes me jump to my feet? For whom or what do I throw off my cloak to meet or be with?
May the witness of Bartimaeus guide us. May he help us jump to our feet to meet those who most need us today.
—Christopher Staab, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Chicago IL