Christ Healing the Blind Man,
Painted by Gioachino Assereto (1600–1649),
Painted circa 1640
Oil on canvas
© Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg

Christ Healing the Blind Man,
Painted by Gioachino Assereto (1600–1649),
Painted circa 1640
Oil on canvas
© Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg

Gospel of 30 May 2024

Immediately Bartimaeus' sight returned and he followed Jesus

Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.

Reflection on the painting

Today's canvas was painted circa 1640 by Gioachino Assereto. Based in Genoa, Italy, he was heavily influenced by the work of Rubens. We see Christ in full movement reaching out to touch Bartimaeus' eyes. The blind man is leaning backwards, taken by surprise. His stick is floating on his right into an empty space. It will no longer be needed after the healing, made obsolete by Jesus' touch. A cheeky child is about to steal the man's begging cup but, as the little boy witnesses the healing, he leaves the cup where it was. There can't be any stealing witnessing the magnificence of the miracle. The three different arms in the middle section (Jesus', the blind man's, the child's) are beautifully juxtaposed.

Once Bartimaeus could see, a whole new world opened up for him. When we get up in the mornings and open our eyes, do we really see the world around us? Do we notice the Spring leaves on the trees, the May sunsets, the homeless man we walk past, the old lady who may need help…? If our sight had been healed like that of the blind man in our reading, we actually would notice all these things. Today is a day we can pray for us to regain our sight too.

Bartimaeus sought not pity or material wealth but craved only mercy. Despite his blindness, he discerned the essence of mercy in Jesus. His plea was not for alms that he would soon spend but for a profound transformation. When Jesus posed the question, "What do you want me to do for you?" Bartimaeus responded unequivocally: "Let me see again." In this straightforward reply, he surrendered himself entirely to Jesus' authority. This surrender transformed Bartimaeus from the role of a beggar by the roadside to a companion walking alongside Jesus on the road of life.

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Will Howard
Member
Will Howard
22 days ago

Wowwwwww … Fr. Patrick’s ‘art-narrative’ commentary today is EXCELLENT
I so love his delving into, delighting in and digesting Assereto’s phantasmagoria!

Still on route to the West Coast.

Looking forward to getting back to CA soon.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
23 days ago

“So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said ‘get up; he is calling you.’”

Jesus engages his followers in this miracle, which Assereto depicts in the painting. Lord, may I listen and obey when you call me to help someone “get up.”

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
23 days ago

Immediate. That is exactly the word for this wonderful painting, which I have certainly never seen before. We will never tire of hearing about this miracle with ol’ Bartimaeus. So compassionate.
Rabbuni..that is the same address as used by Mary Magdalene. Not sure what it means, but one of you will certainly know. Thanks.

I lost my keys yesterday. I was frantic and tempted to pray to find them but I said to Our Lord, and St Anthony, that I thought prayer wasn’t for trivial things such as keys. When I woke this morning, my mind was led to a place – my shopping trolley, which has a board in the base. I knew I had already looked in there – empty -but I hadn’t lifted the board. First thing, I jumped out of bed, went down to the porch to lift that board. There they were! Needless to say, I have thanked God and St Anthony – they listened to me, I am certain.

Graham B.
Member
Graham B.
23 days ago

My understanding is that prayer is for any need – including keys . Is there any difference between a ‘small’ prayer and a ‘big’ prayer. I do not think so.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
23 days ago

Hallelujah, all answers to prayer so welcome!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
23 days ago

Rabbuni = master, teacher. used as a Jewish title of respect applied especially to spiritual instructors and learned persons. Thanks Mirriam Webster. 🌺

George K
Member
George K
23 days ago

It is my belief that if something is important to me it is important to God.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
23 days ago

Dear Patricia, A wonderful story; St Anthony delights us by guiding our hunt for lost items. Peace, Mark

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
23 days ago

There is more than one account of Jesus healing a blind man. This account in Mark is of an encounter springing from the heart-felt desire of the blind man, Bartimaeus, to see. The meeting seems to be one of words only. The painting here seems more likely to be illustrating the healing described in John’s Gospel where an un-named blind man undergoes a dramatic treatment with a paste of mud, followed by washing in the pool of Siloam. At first glance it looks like an attack, with the man arching backwards in surprise, or even discomfort. It is striking that the man clasps Jesus arm.
I am very blessed and deeply thankful, that, for my age, I have extremely good eyesight, confirmed yesterday by my regular eye-check. And being able to see is incredibly precious to me, as a lover of books, art and nature. But what about my inner eye, my understanding? That needs healing, strengthening and daily support from Jesus. “Son of David, have pity on me.” Help us, each one, to identify what we really want Jesus to do for us, and then to ask and ask again, until Jesus can say, “your faith has saved you”.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
23 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Lovely observations on today’s painting Noelle.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
23 days ago

Thanks, Patricia. You never know what others may “like”. And, of course, we don’t write to appeal, we’re trying to find the meaning in the Gospel and the picture; and, perhaps, to quote C.S. Lewis, “to know that we are not alone”.

Jacqueline Madders
Member
Jacqueline Madders
23 days ago

None are so blind ….. the blind man asked to be healed and showed acceptance that Jesus was “ his master”! It is about faith, about trust. Where does it say Jesus pointed to his eyes or even touched him?

Elizabeth Hampton
Member
Elizabeth Hampton
23 days ago

How inspiring is the Gospel; today’s painting and Fr Patrick’s reflection – all three making us want to open our eyes and see the truth of Christ’s word and the beauty of his daily action in our lives! Lord, let the scales drop from our eyes and allow your light into our lives today and every day…

Monica Doyle
Member
Monica Doyle
23 days ago

I love Bartimaeus’ story… I lit a candle earlier and hadn’t even looked at the double flame it has reflected in the mirror. Let today.. now.. be a day for such revelations!

Jess Rodrigueza
Member
Jess Rodrigueza
23 days ago

God is a merciful Father. He never leave us in pain, any troubles at hand, in spiritual battle, as long as we reach out for His embrace, compassion, mercy, We are Healed… ❤️🙏😊

Mike Baird
Member
Mike Baird
23 days ago

Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
Mk.10:51

Why does Jesus ask Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, what doesn’t require asking? To draw faith out of him. Faith not only gives Bartimaeus his sight, it saves him.

Jesus uses every situation to draw out faith from people. Where there is faith, miracles happen. Simply by reading today’s gospel story of Bartimaeus’ miracle healing, my faith is built up. As the crowd said to Bartimaeus, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”

Come Lord Jesus. work miracles in my life and the lives of those I love.

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