A HOMILY FOR THE THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “B” – 10/28/18 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to each of you this day!
We are really blessed, in that most of us here today for Mass can see. Our eyesight is a gift from God. There are quite a few folks who age-related macular degeneration. And some of us are just plain getting a little older, and may need “reader” glasses to read. But for the most part, we can see. And we know how difficult life must be for Bartimaeus, in our Gospel.
But even with the gift of sight, there are things that we know that we can’t see, but we know for sure that they exists, have important roles to play in life. For example, we can’t see the wind. We know that the wind exists. We can feel it blowing on our face, for example. Certainly last Saturday, while we couldn’t see the wind, we sure the effects of the powerful wind a week ago, as it knocked out power and blew tree down. We know the wind exists, even when we don’t feel it or see its effects. In a similar way, we know that the air, and most especially oxygen exists. We can’t see oxygen, we can’t smell it, but we know that without it, we wouldn’t be able to breathe, and in fact, we would die! We know that oxygen exists, because we’re all still here breathing. We know that love exists. We can’t see love. We can see the effects of love, but we can’t see a feeling or an emotion. We know how powerful love can be, for something that we don’t see. It is not always about what our eyes can see, or can’t see. And certainly there are many things, very powerful things, that exist and have very important roles in lives, yet we can’t see them! Life is not just about the things that we can see. Think of carbon monoxide, also. There are many things that we don’t see, things that we are ALL blind to! So maybe all of us can in some way relate to Bartimaeus.
Now, blindness, back in Jesus’ time, was thought to be a terrible curse from God. Those who could not see, could not work. And, of course, if you could not work, you could not feed your family. Bartimaeus, the main character in this week’s Gospel account, must have endured great poverty due to his condition. What was his life like, we wonder? Could he even have a wife and a family? Had he become a burden to his father, TImaeus? Did he make enough as a beggar to take care of himself? There’s a lot we don’t know about this man. What we do know is that when Jesus gets near, Bartimaeus cries out, “Son of David, have pity on me!” So many people at that time, who could see Jesus, did not believe that He was the Son of God. But this blind man sees it. Bartimaeus sees it and gets it! And remember, Bartimaeus hasn’t seen any of the miracles. He hasn’t seen Jesus feed the thousands of people. He hasn’t seen Jesus expel any demons. He hasn’t Jesus heal anybody! He hasn’t seen Jesus do anything! And in fact, he can’t even see Jesus as He comes near. But even without seeing, Bartimaeus believes! He trusts! And he calls out. This is an act of great Faith! It is also an act of great determination, as he refuses to allow the others around him to prevent him from attracting Jesus’ attention. Bartimaeus keeps calling out!
And Jesus, who is the High Priest Who is so beautifully described in today’s second reading, from the letter to the Hebrews, who does deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, hears Bartimaeus’ plea and grants his wish. Jesus heals his physical sight and gives him his life back. Today, Jesus wants to heal our blindness. And as we come here today, we are not blind in the same way that Bartimaeus is, but, my brothers and sisters, make no mistake about it, we can be even more blind that Bartimaeus was! We can be blind to God and His love, and His way of life. And that is so much more dangerous than the blindness that Bartimaeus suffered from!
Just because we don’t see God with our eyes, does NOT mean that God is not there. There is evidence of God, and the effects of God, all around us every day. It would be a terrible mistake to think that just because we don’t see God with our eyes, that He is not there!
And if we are blind to God, and our sinfulness would indicate that in some way, all of us are, blind to Him, then as we come to Mass today, Jesus wants to heal our blindness too, every bit as much as He healed Bartimaeus. The truth is, that we cannot just trust our eyes. Our eyes deceive us, all the time. We THINK that that person, that body, that job, that house, that car, that new phone, that certain amount in our bank account, that all those things will make us happy and give us peace. And we are blind! And for every time that that is true in our life, then we need God to heal us of our blindness, every bit as much as He healed Bartimaeus.
The question is, do we know that? Do we believe that? Do we call out to Jesus, as Bartimaeus did? Do we see what this Jesus can do for us, if only we would turn to Him, and trust Him, and rely on Him?
This Gospel passage is a wake-up call not just for the blind, but for all of us! We pray that our God will deliver all of us from blindness to sight, from death to new life! Once we see the world and those around us through the new eyes of faith, then we can truly find and serve Christ in one another!
+ May God bless us as we strive to do so, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!