In today’s gospel, we encounter Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, sitting at the side of the road as Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem. The road is crowded with people hoping to get close to Jesus. Bartimaeus, hearing that Jesus is passing by, calls out loudly and insistently until Jesus responds. When Jesus calls, Bartimaeus enthusiastically throws off his cloak, springs up, and comes to Jesus.
Because of his blindness, Bartimaeus needs others to lead him through the noisy, chaotic throng of people. On his own, Bartimaeus is unable to find Jesus; he comes to Jesus through others. Changed by his encounter with Jesus, Bartimaeus follows him on the way to Jerusalem and to his passion.
“The way” is another name for discipleship. Following Jesus leads to communion with others and engagement with the world, regardless of the cost. If our faith sits at the roadside, looking blindly inward, it lacks the intentionality of discipleship. Faith that enthusiastically gets up in response to Jesus’ call restores both us and the community. Discipleship is a road traveled through the events of a lifetime.
In the first reading, God promises to gather the broken. We celebrate today’s Eucharist knowing that this promise is fulfilled in Jesus, who calls us out of blindness to discipleship. We celebrate as individuals in community, restored by the great high priest whose way is love.