28 October 2012 Mark 10: 46-52 "Son of David, have mercy on me!"
The blind man Bartimaeus sounds like the kind of beggar whom most of us try to avoid on State Street. He's noisy, aggressive, and so insistent that he shouts all the louder when more respectable people tell him to shut up. And yet Jesus takes him seriously. In fact, Jesus interrupts his journey to Jerusalem for the sake of Bartimaeus, calling him over and listening to him, and then not only heals him but also strongly commends him for his faith.
What's going on here? What does the blind Bartimaeus "see" about Jesus? The disciples keep assuming that Jesus is going to claim the throne of Israel, but Bartimaeus seems to understand that Jesus is motivated by compassion, not ambition.
I think this story illustrates the importance of our baptismal promise to respect the dignity of every human being. Even a loud, disruptive beggar is worth listening to, both for his own sake and because he may know more about our Lord than we do.