Homily from Sunday October 24th – 30th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Aren’t you moved by the faith (the confidence in Jesus) that Bartimaeus has in his insistent cry for Jesus to have mercy on him even though others constantly try to keep him off to the side? Of course, this is a perennial problem that keeps those in need more and more invisible and on the edges; the blind and begging for assistance, asylum, to be heard. This beggar can also be you and me that cry out for healing, for attention, because we have to keep in mind the gospels are also directed directly at us.
Jesus does not make assumptions about what the blind man needs or wants. He does not immediately move to heal his blindness, but instead, asks him.
In the Christian monastic traditions, welcoming is about being hospital to the stranger as the face of Christ. It is in welcoming what is most tender and uncomfortable that we encounter the Divine presence. This kind of invitation to inner hospitality is a great portal to the healing of so much, and we bring more compassion into the world. We remember our own vulnerability and so deal with others with more tenderness and understanding.
Today’s readings are about coming (to see again) in a new way. Being short sighted or blind to what we are doing is something that most of us go through at some point in our life. Something happens like an illness or a broken relationship and life gets dark.
Our emotions get mixed up and what used to be clear is cloudy, where we used to see straight, is now blurry. The Gospel of Mark tells this story for a good reason: He cried out in faith for mercy and Jesus responds. We need to know that when he cures our blindness we’ll see him more clearly as the Christ to be followed. To open the eyes of the blind as Jesus did may be beyond us, but we can all take part in bringing (new vision) to those who struggle in some darkness.
During the War, a soldier, after recovering from a wound, returned to his company to learn that his army buddy with whom he had fought side by side, was reported as missing in action, and asked permission to go back and search for him. His officer strongly advised against it, saying it would not be worth it, and it may cost you your life. But he went, and he found his friend badly wounded and carried him back – where he then died. His officer then asked was it worth it? Yes Sir! When my friend saw me he said “I knew you would come.”
Christ is counting to us to come in answer to his call. To US Christ is saying “Come unto me”. If we do not have a great deal of courage to be a Christian, (no matter what) you will wilt before the challenge. If your heart is not filled with confidence in Christ you will not heed the call to serve him. Christ confronts you with this challenge.