Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 24
Opening Our Hearts and Living Our Faith, Discarding the Cloak of Materialism and the Various Earthly Gods that Keep Us from Being Able to Truly Embrace God’s Love, Heals Our Blindness and Gives Us Spiritual Sight.
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me”! – words which came from the very depths of Bartimaeus’ heart.
In today’s Gospel, we read the story about Bartimaeus, a blind man who had heard stories about this Jesus of Nazareth performing great wonders. And when Jesus asked him what it was that he desired, Bartimaeus, after casting off his cloak, replied, “‘Master, I want to see.’ [And] Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.’” And immediately, Bartimaeus received the gift of sight.
But then the Scriptures give us something extra. They give us an insight into the heart of Bartimaeus himself – and if we are not careful, it is so easy to miss it – for we read that he “…followed him on the way.” Jesus had said to him, “Go your way…” In the end, the way that Bartimaeus chose was Jesus’ way.
We hear nothing more of this blind beggar, who apparently became one of Jesus’ followers. And he is only mentioned in Mark’s Gospel. But the story of God’s Love, the story of faith, the story of depending upon Jesus, the story of casting off what binds us to this world, and following and embracing the only Truth which truly matters – it is a story told countless times throughout the history of Christianity!
It is a story of our relationship, our dependence upon Jesus Christ and His undeniable and indescribable Love for each and every one of us as His children.
How is this story and our Readings from the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time relevant to the world in which we live today? Can we say that the life of Bartimaeus is any different from ours?
Oh, we may not have been physically blind, as he was – but, for most people, at one point or another in our lives, many of us, including myself, have suffered from a spiritual blindness of one form or another, which prevented us from seeing the Divine Light of God’s Loving Presence in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
And in this spiritual blindness, we found ourselves grasping onto the cloak of materialism, a cloak which Bartimaeus threw aside. All the while, our soul deep within us was crying out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!” But the gods we created out of selfishness and earthly desires kept rebuking our soul, telling it “to be silent”.
In our Second Reading today from the Letter to the Hebrews, the author is explaining how no one takes an honor of being a “…representative before God” upon himself. Rather, it is the result of being called by God.
Each and every one of us is called by God to be holy. Each and every one of us is called and invited by our Creator to be righteous in the life we live. Each of us, by virtue of our Baptism into the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, is called to be priest, prophet and king.
We are called by God to be His witness in a world which prefers to embrace the way of darkness. It is through the faithful witness we live whereby we are able to bring the Light of God’s Love and His Living Presence into the darkness which has swallowed so many of God’s children.
Consider this for a moment: We are each given the gift of faith, a gift which can be likened to a most precious jewel. It is gift-wrapped and placed before us. And we are each invited to unwrap and embrace this gift with all our heart, with all our strength. But, for many, the gift goes unnoticed and remains at our feet – still wrapped, still unopened.
This most precious jewel remains unseen because of our spiritual blindness. But each one of us is like Bartimaeus, searching for something which will make us whole, searching for something – or Someone – who will fulfill the needs for which our soul is so desperately yearning and crying out!
Like Bartimaeus, ours is a journey through life, a pilgrimage which is unique to each of us. Ours is a quest in which we seek fulfillment due to the emptiness which many carry within themselves, a healing which will wash away all that blinds our heart and our soul, a healing which will unshackle the chains which bind us to the shadows of our own darkness.
For some, they learn to unwrap and embrace this gift of faith at an early age. For others, it is at a time in life when we have grown older, and it becomes harder to cast off this cloak of materialism which we have worn for so long.
And for those who have been burdened with the emptiness which accompanies spiritual blindness, in the midst of our tears, as we read from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, God will “console” and “guide” us. “I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst.”
In the world and the culture in which we live today, there are many who live and experience times of darkness in one form or another. It is a time in which our hearts are empty and our souls are saddened. It is a time in which we are filled with tears, for we feel that God is not with us, for we feel all alone and empty inside.
And yet, it is the exact opposite where we find the Truth, for God is not only near us, He is embracing us during those moments in which we find ourselves suffering our greatest sadness, our greatest sorrows!
It is when we travel through these deepest valleys of life that the gift of faith is not only gift-wrapped, it is offered to us with bows and ribbons of all varieties of colors. And it is no longer laying at our feet for us to pick up. It is Christ Himself who is holding it and personally reaching out and offering it to us!
For we read our Lord saying in Jeremiah, “They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them; I will lead them to brooks of water, on a level road, so that none shall stumble. For I am a father to Israel.” And we are each sons and daughters of Israel!
Pope Emeritus Benedict was once quoted as saying, “The encounter with the living God is the source of that hope that transforms lives and is spoken of in the Gospels.”
It is when we unwrap this gift of faith and truly embrace all that this gift offers, wherein we begin to encounter the Living God who has created us, the Redeeming God who has saved us, and the Sanctifying God who enlightens us and strengthens us in the crosses we bear and in the journey we find ourselves traveling through life on this side of the eternal –
– where we come to know and understand that our God is truly a God of Infinite Love, an indescribable Love who desires us for Himself, who desires to give us the best of all possible gifts – the gift of eternal life with Himself in His Eternal Home!
Opening our hearts and living our faith, discarding the cloak of materialism and the various earthly gods that would keep us from being able to truly embrace God’s Love, heals our blindness and allows our souls to enjoy the gift of spiritually seeing the Divine Light of God’s Eternal Truth and His Loving Presence not only in our lives, but also in the lives of everyone around us.
In this way, the words of today’s psalmist not only become relevant in the world in which we live, but also are given an energy and a life of their own, for these words become ours in the life of faith we profess and the example and the witness we give to our faith daily –
“The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad indeed.” And you and I can say from the depths or our own hearts, “The Lord has truly done great things for me. Oh, how glad I truly am!” – for we are no longer blind, for we have each been given the gift of sight.
May our thanksgiving, like Bartimaeus’, follow the way of Jesus Christ, for He truly is “…the way and the truth and the life” – for each one of us, you and me, in our daily lives!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- …as [Jesus] was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me. And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.” (Mark 10:46b-48a)
- “Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ …[Bartimaeus] threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.” (Mark 10:49a, 50)
- “Jesus said to him in reply, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man replied to him, ‘Master, I want to see.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.” (Mark 10:51-52)
- “I will gather them from the ends of the earth, the blind and the lame in their midst…With weeping they shall come, but with compassion I will guide them; I will lead them to streams of water, on a level road, without stumbling. For I am a father to Israel.” (Jeremiah 31:8c, 9abc)
- “For the LORD will not forsake his people, nor abandon his inheritance.” (Psalm 94:14)
- “[Every high priest] is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God…” (Hebrews 5:2-4)
- “I, [Paul], a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
- “The LORD has done great things for us; Oh, how happy we were!” (Psalm 126:3)
- “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Prayer for the Day
“God, our Heavenly Father,Anonymous
in my pilgrimage through life,
nourish me with Your Word and Your Truth,
and make me one with You in love and prayer.
“Fill my heart with Your Love
and keep me faithful to the Gospel of Christ.
Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness;
give me new life by Your Holy Sacraments,
especially Reconciliation and Eucharist.
“Father, our Source of life,
I reach out with joy to grasp Your hand;
let me walk more readily in Your ways.
Guide me in Your gentle Mercy,
for, left to myself, I cannot hope to do Your will.
“Father of Love, Source of all blessings,
help me to pass from my old life of sin
to the new life of grace and righteousness,
in answer to Your invitation to my soul.
“Prepare me for the glory of Your Kingdom,
for I ask all this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”