George Sabol

Synopsis of "Bartimaeus, the Blind Beggar of Jericho"

Synopsis of Bartimaeus, the Blind Beggar of Jericho

Bartimaeus is the name of the blind beggar that was cured by Jesus at the gate of Jericho as Jesus traveled to Jerusalem where he was to be crucified a few days later.  Although the gospels have many accounts of cures by Jesus, the cure of Bartimaeus is told in the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  Why did the three gospel writers include the same miracle narrative in their gospels and most interesting, why are Bartimaeus and his father, Timaeus, named in the gospel?  Could it be that Bartimaeus had a greater role in the early Christian Church – a role that was known by the apostles but was not disclosed, possibly to avoid repercussions from the enemies of the Church?  The question of who Bartimaeus was and what role he played in the early Church is the basis of the story.  



Lutyens’ book follows the Church’s liturgical calendar beginning with the First Sunday of Advent.  The meditation for each day is presented on one page. Apparently, the author’s intent was to stimulate rather than educate.  Each daily meditation has a brief heading. That is followed by a scriptural reference.  Then, each daily meditation is set in three sections; 1 – a reflective narrative on the cited scripture, 2 – an interpretive observation of the significance of the scripture to the world of Lutyens’ time, and 3 – an invitation to the reader to search the message of the scripture.  Section 3 is often done in the form of questions.  In Lutyens’ words, “They are designed to stimulate the mind to devotion by suggestion.”

In this book, I follow the same general format employed by Lutyens.  Each daily meditation begins with a brief citation from scripture.  Those are predominantly from the gospel of John; Saint Francis’ favorite scripture.  Section 1 is typically a commentary on the gospel passage.  Section 2 is a narrative from the life of Saint Francis or Saint Clare or one of their followers that exemplifies the selected gospel citation.  Section 3, like Lutyens, is an invitation, often using questions, to stimulate the mind and soul to devotion by meditating on the gospel message and the example of the little brother from Assisi, Saint Francis. 

This collection of 100 meditations follows, to some extent, the progression of Saint Francis’ conversion to Jesus Christ.  It is noted that the author has occasionally used imaginative interpretations of both scripture and Franciscan history.  It has been said that imagination can lead us closer to the truth than history and recorded fact.  Although I do not claim my imaginary interpretations to be fact; my hope is that they serve to stimulate the reader to their own spiritual imagination and greater devotion to their God.