I know I have said and written this many times before but I continue to be amazed by what I continue to see and learn from Sacred Scripture even after so many years of prayer and study.  What strikes me this week is that I never noticed how similar today’s Gospel passage is to the one we heard last week.  I also never noticed that today’s passage follows immediately after last week’s passage in Mark’s Gospel.  While they are so different, they begin with very similar words from Jesus.  To both James and John last week and to the blind Bartimaeus this week, Jesus says, “What do you want me to do for you?” To me this means that if Jesus is going to ask both His apostles and a blind beggar what they want Him to do for them then certainly He will ask the same of us.  So, do we know what we want Jesus to do for us?  We should because He is indeed asking.  But there are differences between the two passages as well.  Basically, what we find is that Jesus is the same, but that those who approach Him (i.e. all of us) are very different.  His own apostles, when they approach Him say, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”  The blind Bartimaeus, in contrast, when he becomes aware that Jesus is near cries out, “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.”  Which of the two approaches would more closely represent that which we would, or rather we do, take with Him?  And how about when it comes to what it is that we ask of Jesus; is it more like the request of James and John (to sit on either side of Jesus in His Kingdom) or like that of the blind man (to ask Jesus for something that would help him to follow Jesus more closely)?  You see, I suppose it comes down to this: all the characters that Jesus meets are different, just like all of us and all the people we meet are unique but Jesus is always the same.  He always asks us what we want Him to do for us and then gives us exactly what we need.  Different stories.  Different people. Same Jesus.

AuthorCathy Remick