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Hello, I am a Cloak

Homily for 32nd Mon AP 2023-01-16 Mk.10:46-52

A gospel reflection given for Mk 10:46-52 (The healing of the blind man, Bartimaeus)

© 2023, Br. Seraphim of Mt Tabor


 

Hello. I am a cloak.

I am the cloak of Bartimæus. Bartimæus is a blind beggar in the very old town of Jericho, while I am neither blind nor a beggar: I am his precious cloak. He treasures me, because I keep him warm in this cold season, and somewhat dry during the rains. I am familiar to him, and he keeps me carefully on his person, or by his side, not wanting me to go missing, or to be stolen, or to be forgotten by him. This is because he truly needs me.

But today, that son of Timæus must have lost his senses, his sense of possession, and why? Because when the crowd told him that Jesus of Nazareth was calling him, why that son of Timæus actually threw me off! He through me off, and left me behind! Now, I ask you: would you do such a thing? If you were blind, and in a crowded, noisy place, would you dare toss your cloak aside, unable to see where it would land, and hurry away to somebody in the crowd who is calling you? That’s downright rash – or at least it would have been, had he not been sure he would gain something far more valuable.

And so, the Son of Timæus threw me away, left me behind, hurried as fast as a blind man can hurry in a crowd, hurried up to Jesus, and demanded, “Master, let me receive my sight!”

“Go your way; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he received his sight…” Now there, you see what I mean? Something more valuable! He can see! His sight was more important than the cloak! Now he can find me and have both his cloak and his sight, at the same time! Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it, too? Or have you cloak, and see it, too?

But no… he doesn’t even want me back—me, his very own, precious, valuable, most useful cloak! Why, he’s completely forgotten me! “And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him on the way.” There they go, leaving me behind! Off they go, leaving Jericho, and me, his cloak, right on up that steep, old road to Jerusalem, to find a colt for Jesus to ride, as a peaceful king would do! And I, for one, won’t even get to see it. Some other beggar will find me, and adopt me, and that will certainly be that. No more Bartimæus for me.

For, you see, the son of Timæus didn’t simply follow Him “on his way,” but followed him on the Way.” He took up following Jesus, who you already know is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” The Son of Timæus found something worth more than even his very own sight—and now he sees far more than they see, who see by the sunlight. He sees by the Light: the Light of the Most High.

And so, as I lie here in the shadow, in the dust, waiting for some other beggar to find an use me, to treasure me and care for me; and while my Bartimæus is going off into the distance, up that steep and narrow road from Jericho to Jerusalem: I beg you, please, use what you have, though I have it not. Do you, who know Jesus of Nazareth, do you walk in the that Light, while you still have that Light—for that Light, is worth more than your sight.

 

We have heard the story of the cloak of Bartimæus, in the cloak’s own words, but did you know that there was a sequel? Well, there was. Another beggar did find that old but precious cloak, as the crowd were leaving Jericho, a beggar who got intrigued at the sight of all that had just happened, and who made up his mind to go up that steep road after the crowd. As they all were leaving, and those still in Jericho were thinning out somewhat, this beggar noticed that old cloak, and grabbed it up to use against the cold night that would surely follow, and went on after the crowd. He followed them up to the Mount of Olives, to the twin towns of Bethany and Bethphage, and the Lord sent a pair of disciples who fetched an unbroken colt for Jesus of Nazareth to ride, and the beggar was among those who threw garments onto the colt for a saddle, to make Jesus a little more comfortable and to provide Him a proper seat. It wasn’t till later that they returned the colt to the fellows up at Bethphage. That’s when Bartimæus got back his cloak, and that is how the cloak came to know what he said about the colt, and why the cloak of Bartimæus begged you to walk in the Light, while you still have the Light – amen.


(Given 1.16.23)


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