The scribe in today’s Gospel gets an unusually good press. Jesus compliments him, something quite rare in the Gospels. The scribe asks which is the first of all the commandments and Jesus recites the famous opening words of the Shema, the prayer recited by pious Jews each day.
In today’s Gospel we are given the story of Blind Bartimaeus for our consideration. This is the last incident to occur on Jesus’ journey up to Jerusalem for the Passover where he is to meet his fate on the Cross of Calvary. But despite the fact that Jesus knows that this is the most important journey of his life and that he is shortly to face his own death he still is able to find the time to heal Bartimaeus. This shows us where Jesus’ priorities truly lie.
Sometimes the Lectionary gives us readings that are a bit too short. Today’s Gospel is an example of this tendency. In the actual Gospel, this passage about James and John asking for privileged places in the Kingdom is immediately preceded by a passage in which Jesus predicts his passion and death for the third time. It is unfortunate that it is omitted from the Gospel set before us today.
The story of the Rich Young Man appears more or less identically in all three of the Synoptic Gospels. The question the young man poses is an interesting one. He says, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He thinks that we can get to heaven by doing things. If this were true it would only be a question of finding out what things we must do and then once these have been completed we will be let into heaven.
Father Alex McAllister SDS
Parish Priest of
St Thomas à Becket