October 25, 2015

30th Sun., Ordinary Time

October 25, 2015:  Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 'Earth' tie:  I'll gather my people from the ends of the world (1st reading)
  • 'Eyeball' pin:  Blind Bart (gospel); I'll gather the blind and lame (1st reading)
  • 'Phone' tie bar:  Jesus:  Bartimaeus 'called' Jesus; Jesus 'called' him  (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

Pope Francis
Angelus:  Jeremiah tells of the Lord’s promise to deliver and restore his people; I've confronted this prophecy with images of refugees.  God tells them, "I'll lead you back amid consolations."  Those families most suffering, uprooted from their land, were with us in the Synod too:  in our prayers and work, through the voice of some of their pastors present.  These people in search of dignity and peace remain with us; the Church doesn't abandon them, for God wants to lead them to freedom.
Today's gospel dramatizes need for us to make sure our desires are ordered to Christ, and then approach him confidently with humility and ask him, mindful of all he's done for us, and desirous of sharing the Good News with those who need it.  Follow the path the Lord desires.  Ask him to heal and save us.  Don't let yourself be tarnished by pessimism or sin, but seek God's glory...
Synod closing Mass homily:  Today's readings show God’s compassion and fatherhood, revealed in Jesus.  In a national disaster, Jeremiah proclaims “the Lord saved his people.”  Why?  Because he's their Father and takes care of and accompanies his children, sustaining “the blind and lame, women with child and in labor.”  His fatherhood opens up a path, a way of consolation.  If they remain faithful, God will change their captivity to freedom, their solitude into communion:  what they sow in tears, they'll reap in joy.  A believer is someone who has experienced God’s saving action.
The 2nd reading shows Jesus’ compassion.  Beset with weakness, he feels compassion for those in ignorance and error.  Jesus is the great high priest, holy and innocent, but also the high priest who's taken on our weakness and been tempted like us; he's the mediator of the covenant that saves us.
As the Israelites were freed thanks to God’s fatherhood, so too Bartimaeus is freed thanks to Jesus’ compassion.  Jesus responds to his cry; he's moved and becomes involved in his situation.  He's not content to offer alms but rather wants to encounter him, asking, “What do you want me to do for you?”  With this question, he shows he wants to hear our needs, to talk with us about our lives, our situations.  After Bartimaeus’ healing, the Lord tells him: “Your faith made you well.”  He admires Bartimaeus’ faith, his confidence in Jesus.  He believes in us more than we do.
Jesus asks his disciples to call Bartimaeus.  They address him with two expressions:  “Take heart!” (literally, “have faith, strong courage!”)  Only an encounter with Jesus gives you strength to face difficult situations.  And “Rise!”, as Jesus said to many of the sick.  Jesus' disciples repeat his words and lead Bartimaeus to Jesus.  We're called to this today:  to bring people into contact with the compassionate, saving Mercy.  When humanity’s cry becomes strong, we must make Jesus’ words ours and imitate his heart.  Suffering and conflict are for God occasions of mercy.  Today is a time of mercy!
There are temptations for Jesus' followers:  None of the disciples stopped; they went on as if nothing was happening.  Bartimaeus was blind, but they were deaf; his problem wasn't their problem.  The danger is moving on instead of letting ourselves be bothered, being with Jesus but not thinking like him, without an open heart, losing wonder, gratitude, and enthusiasm, risking becoming unmoved by grace, speaking about and working for him, but far from his heart, which is reaching out to the wounded.  The temptation is a “spirituality of illusion”:  seeing what we want instead of what's real, developing our world view instead of accepting what the Lord shows us.  A faith not rooted in people's lives is arid and creates more deserts.
Another temptation is “scheduled faith,” walking with God's People but according to my plans; you must respect my rhythm, and every problem is a bother.  We risk becoming the “many” of the Gospel who lose patience with Bartimaeus.  A short time before, they scolded the children, and now the blind beggar:  whoever bothers us is excluded.  But Jesus wants to include, above all those kept on the fringes who are crying out to him.  They too have faith, because knowing you need salvation is the best way of encountering Jesus.
Bartimaeus not only gains his sight; he also follows Jesus on his path.  Let us too follow the path the Lord desires....
  • Jer 31:7-9  Shout with joy; the Lord has delivered his people.  I'll bring them back, gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind, lame, mothers, and those with child; they'll return.  They departed in tears, but I'll console and lead them....
  • Ps 126:1-6  "The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy."  When the Lord brought back the captives, we were like dreamers; then we rejoiced.  Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.  They go forth weeping but will come back rejoicing....
  • Heb 5:1-6  Every high priest is a person representing people before God, able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring because they're weak themselves.  Only those God calls take on this honor.  Similarly, Christ didn't glorify himself in becoming high priest:  "You are my son; today I've begotten you...."
  • Mk 10:46-52  Blind Bartimaeus, begging by the roadside, heard Jesus and cried out, "Son of David, have pity on me."  Many told him to shut up, but he kept calling out.  Jesus:  "Call him."  They called him:  "Take courage; Jesus is calling you."  Jesus / Bartimaeus:  "What do you want me to do for you?" / "Master, I want to see." / "Go; your faith has saved you."  He received his sight and followed him.
    • Creighton:  Imagine Bartimaeus calling out to Jesus, Jesus' invitation to him, the faith he demonstrates, and his joy at receiving sight.  Do I enthusiastically ask Jesus' help?  When I am blind to the graces God has given to me?  Am I open to God’s guidance?
    • One Bread One Body:  "Blind faith":  Bartimaeus expressed his faith vocally, publicly, and repeatedly.  When a blind man throws away his cloak, he better be healed, or he may never find his cloak.  Bartimaeus expressed faith by fearlessly coming to Jesus, accepting him as Teacher, and becoming his disciple.  To please God, we must live in faith....
      Christ giving sight to Bartimaeus/ Blake
    • Passionist:  Mark situates the "Blind Bartimaeus" miracle in Jericho, the city of the Good Samaritan, 20 miles from Jerusalem.  It's the last miracle outside Jerusalem, before Jesus enters into his Passion.  It's both a “call story” and “miracle story.”  Bartimaeus cries out: “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Perhaps the crowds try to silence him because “Son of David” had political overtones.  After he receives his sight, Jesus tells him to go, but he follows Jesus “on the way” to Jerusalem, to the Cross.  We can be called at any moment.  Let's seize, embrace, and examine our encounters with God; they change us and enable us to follow Jesus to the Cross and ultimately Resurrection.
    • DailyScripture.net:  "What do you want me to do for you?"  Bartimaeus was determined to get near the one person who could meet his need, but he had no way till now.  It took guts and persistence for him to get Jesus' attention over the din. Maybe the crowd tried to quiet him because he was disturbing them and interrupting Jesus' discourse, but persistence paid off.  Jesus opened his eyes and welcomed him into his company.  Jesus chose action over talk; he commends him for his faith and grants him physical sight too.   Do I recognize my need for God's healing and do I seek Jesus out with persistent faith?

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