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Pastor's Letter 20211024 - 24 October 2021 - Master, I Want to See

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October 24th, 2021

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A Message from Father Michael


Today’s Theme:  “Master, I want to see!”

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

In today’s First Reading, we read how Jeremiah shared with his people a vision of homecoming (from their exile in Babylon,) that paralleled in joy and triumph their first exodus from Egyptian slavery (Jeremiah 31:7-9.)  The returning people—the blind, the lame, pregnant and nursing mothers—were those who had survived the rigors of the exile and who had been miraculously rescued.  Jeremiah’s vision of the return provided hope for his people, even in the darkest days of their hopelessness and estrangement.  


Among the Israelites, the entire system of sacrificial worship was illustrative of higher and more idealistic view of God and of life.  Our Second Reading (Hebrews 5:1-6,)shows an appreciation of Jesus Christ as representative of all humanity, by virtue of His incarnation.  He is one with us in flesh and blood, pain and suffering, with an empathy that gives Him cause to deal patiently with sinners.  While the Jewish high priests were appointed from among the people, and by them, Christ’s priesthood merited a far superior status because His appointment and designation came from God, Himself!  


Up to the point of today’s Gospel selection (Mark 10:46-52,)only demons and evil spirits had actually recognized Jesus and proclaimed Him for what He truly was.  The apostles had been, for the most part, both blind and uncomprehending of the true meaning of Jesus’ messiahship and of His kingdom.  But now, Bartimaeus, the blind son of Timaeus, recognizes, proclaims and understands Jesus’ true identity.  Showing a persistency far above his station, and using deep insight, along with an act of profound faith, he acclaimed Him as “Son of David,” a title that gave Him due transcendence and power among men.  Isaiah’s prophecy—that the Messiah would bring sight to the blind—was once again played out for all to see.   The true nature and meaning of the event was perfectly encapsulated in Jesus’ reply: “Your faith has healed you.”  Christianity is a way of life that must daily lead the believer from darkness to light, from blindness to sight and from fascination to faith!

Throwing Away Our Cloak

The blind man in today’s Gospel can be seen to have one kind of riches—faith in Jesus.  It may have been only the faith of the desperate, as a person who was forced to live on the “fringes” of life, “at the side of the road,” but it is faith that matters.  He “cried out” to Jesus, and overcame his shame and pride, and was not “put off” by the disciples’ attempts to silence him.  He went on “crying out!”  (This could be seen as one of the bedrock tenets of good salesmanship—persistence….)  

When Jesus responded to him, he jumped up, threw aside his cloak and made his way to Him.  That cloak would have been the one thing of value that he possessed—it meant the “world” to him.  It not only provided him warmth, but also covered his wretchedness, giving him some measure of dignity and respectability.  Yet he threw it aside and came to Jesus just as he was—in all his darkness, poverty and despair.  We then hear how Jesus received him and gave him back his sight.  

When we go to the doctor, we may be asked to take off some, or all of our clothes.  It’s not something most of us find easy to do.  To “strip” is to become vulnerable.  But it would be difficult to have our ills diagnosed and treated if we won’t even let the doctor see them in the first place!  

We are also blind, in many ways.  We are poor before God.  Jesus calls us to come to Him, as He wants to make us well.  However, like our discomfort with disrobing for the doctor, we find it difficult to throw our “cloak” away and come to Him just as we are.  Pride makes us attempt to put on an outward “show.”  This may stem from a mistaken belief that we must be perfect in order for Jesus to love us.  We may believe that to admit our sins and weaknesses might cause Him to reject us.  But if we were perfect, if we were well, we wouldn’t need Jesus in the first place!  

We must make a radical act of faith and trust in Jesus.  We must forego pretense, covering up, hiding behind various screens and masks.  We must be content to appear before Him as we really are.  We have nothing to fear but His kindness and healing.  A patient does not feel accepted unless the worst in him or her is also accepted.  So, we will never feel accepted and loved by God unless we let Him see our worst side. 

Many people sit at the roadside of life begging, not for money, but for love, for attention, for a feeling that they are important and that life has meaning.  Many of them are too embarrassed to ask for help.  They are afraid of being silenced by the indifference of others.  

Bartimaeus serves as a model for others.  Many people who were blind and without direction, have found purpose, energy and direction in their lives as a result of following Jesus.  An enthusiastic following of Jesus results in a happy and fulfilled life—a life shared with others. 

“Lord that we may see”—should be our plea, so that we can see our needy brothers and sisters, and hear their silent cries, in order that we do not pass them by.  For we, too, were beggars, and Jesus enriched us.  We were blind and Jesus enlightened us.

Vision vs Sight

To a person of average height, standing on the seashore, the horizon appears to be a mere three miles away.  If one stands on a point 100 feet higher, it recedes to about 13 miles.  And seen from 1,000 feet up, the distance to the horizon becomes 40 miles.  

When meteorologists speak in terms of “visibility,” it has nothing to do with the actual or apparent distance to the horizon.  Visibility is defined as, “the furthest horizontal distance at which a person can distinguish and identify an object, in normal conditions of daylight.”  

The air we breathe is never completely “clear.”  Even if it were, our maximum visibility would still be only about 130 miles, depending upon altitude.  In practice, though, it is quite unusual to be able to see clearly more than a distance of 40 miles.  There is no such thing as “unlimited” visibility.  In fact, the highest numerical value with which meteorologists concern themselves is typically, closer to 50 miles.  

Philosophically speaking, some people have very limited horizons, barely seeing beyond themselves.  For them, the world is limited because of their self-preoccupation, and their vision is “darkened” by their own gloomy worldview.  But other people have a wider horizon because they are able to look beyond themselves.  Their outlook is brightened by their ability to see the world in a positive light. 

We can take a lesson from Helen Keller— blind and deaf at nineteen months of age—who once said: 

“One day I asked a friend of mine who had just returned from a long walk in the word what she had seen.  She replied, ‘Nothing in particular.’

“ ‘How was this possible,’ I asked myself— when I who cannot hear or see, find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch?  I feel the delicate shape and design of a leaf.  I pass my hands lovingly over the rough bark of a pine tree.  Occasionally, I place my hand quietly on a small tree, and if I’m lucky, feel the happy quiver of a bird, in full song.

“The greatest calamity that can befall people, is not that they should be born blind, but that they should have eyes, but fail to see.

It is so important that we, who are blessed with all our senses, distinguish between “sight” and “vision.”  Having good eyesight doesn’t mean we have great vision.  It’s not only with our eyes that we see.  We also “see” with our minds, hearts and imaginations.  A narrow mind, a small heart, and an impoverished imagination can lead us to loss of vision and have a “narrow” perspective on our world.

To view a live stream of today's Holy Mass, click here:  https://youtu.be/a2l_dZiEMws

May God Richly Bless You!

If Jesus heals instantly, praise Him.  If Jesus heals gradually, trust Him.  When Jesus heals ultimately, you will understand.

~~Max Lucado~~

Just As I Am.mp3

Edited by Father Michael
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