Homily (Reflection) for the Thirtieth Sunday of the Year (B) (28th October, 2018) on the Gospel
Jer 31:7-9;Ps 125 (R.V. 3);
This is a story told of Cardinal Faulhaber, the renowned Archbishop of Munich: “One day he was visiting a home for blind soldiers. He walked through the home and cheered them up. He encouraged them and blessed them. As he came to one blind soldier, he heard him praying, ‘Lord, I beg you not to take away from me the light of my eyes, but if it is your will, at least leave me the light of my mind, but if it is your will that I be deprived of that, leave me at least the light of my faith.’
“The Cardinal stopped and asked the soldier were [sic] he had learned such a beautiful prayer. The man replied he had learned it as a child and had never forgotten it.”
Culled from Sagayanathan, A. (2009). Launching Pad: Stories for Sunday Homilies, Year-A, B, & C. Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, pp. 227-228.
Topic: While seeking solutions.
We read from the gospel that a blind beggar named Bartimaeus meaning the son of Timaeus was sitting by the roadside begging for alms when he heard the tramp of feet of Jesus, his disciples, and the large crowd that were following Jesus. Although the scripture did not tell us how long he had been under the bondage of blindness but he was not born blind, cf. v. 51. He must have heard so much about Jesus that as soon as he learnt that Jesus was passing, he called on to Him (began to shout and say): “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Mk 10:47; cf. v. 48).
Bartimaeus longed for He who can do all things, cf. Mk 10:27; Lk 18:27. However between Bartimaeus and He who can do all things, was a serious gap, the unnamed large crowd who sternly ordered him to be quiet, cf. MK 10:48. In Bartimaeus’ shouting, one sees a belief that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, (cf. Is 9:1-7) and that he could restore his sight. Hence, he could not be stopped by the order from the crowd. Again, when he bridged the gap and was asked by Jesus “What do you want me to do for you?” he responded: “My teacher, let me see again” (Mk 10:51).
In response to Bartimaeus’ request Jesus said: “Go; your faith has made you well” because it is through faith that the gap between Bartimaeus and Jesus was bridged. And the gospel reads further: “Immediately he regained his sight” (Mk 10:52). Bartimaeus suffered from a physical blindness. We all suffer one form of ailment or another – physical, psychological, spiritual, complex, and so on. Through the prophet Isaiah God says: “Bring forth the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears!” (Is 43:8). In this we see another form of blindness which is more serious. Hence Reverend Father Sagayanathan concludes the piece quoted above thus: “Certainly the loss of one’s sight is a tragic affliction, but the loss of one’s faith is a greater one”.
No matter how bad or good a situation is God remains all-powerful. And no matter what you are going through, there is only one channel to the solution and that is Jesus Christ to whom Bartimaeus called and was freed from the bondage of physical blindness. Call on to him now with a faith as firm as that of Bartimaeus. He listens to all his children whenever they call on to him, cf. Jn 9:31. But to move to Jesus, the source of all that is good, one must first bridge the gap in-between like Bartimaeus. The gap between us and Jesus varies. But each of us is capable of bridging the one between him/her and Jesus for God does not allow any body to be tempted beyond his/her strength, cf. 1Cor 10:13.
There is an Igbo adage that no man or woman goes to bed with a foreign object in his or her eyes. Every person as we have said is faced with problems that seek for answers either in the form of solution or at least explanation. And for any person to achieve any goal, salvation, destiny, explanations, solutions, to be liberated, and so on, one must conquer gaps which are challenges. It is faith that enables us to cross over to Jesus because “whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6). Without faith no one can trust in God’s saving power, cf. Ps 78:22; 106:24. The blind soldier prayed God to leave the light of his faith even if it pleased him to take both the light of his eyes and the light of his mind. We ought to keep our faith always even as we seek solutions for our afflictions, cf. Ps 116:10.
Bible Reading: Ps 78; Is 43:1-13; Lk 11:1-13; 18:1-14; Matt 11:25-30.
Thought for today: Do you persist in calling on Jesus?
Let us pray: Our Father in heaven, without you we are nothing. Look kindly upon us who are overburdened. Grant us the grace to put our faith in you alone – Amen.
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