Homily — 30th Sunday OT B October 29, 2006

Homily — 30th Sunday OT B October 29, 2006

Christ healing Bartimeaus http://cgfa.sunsite.dk

“Master, I want to see.” . . . .immediately he received his sight and followed Him on the way.

In today’s Gospel Jesus restores Bartimaeus’ physical sight, but as we see, Bartimaeus wanted more from Jesus than that. He wanted to see, not just with his bodily eyes but with spiritual eyes. Bartimaeus wanted to see God.

What an experience it must have been for Bartimaeus, and for every blind person Jesus gives sight to, to have the first thing they ever see be the loving face of Jesus, smiling at them.

Bartimeus must have thought what Simeon did when He saw the baby Jesus being presented in the Temple: “My own eyes have seen the salvation which God has prepared for all the world to see.”

And seeing Jesus, he didn’t ever want to take his newly given eyes off of him, so he followed Him on the way says St. Mark.

As far as we know from the Four Gospels, Bartimaeus is the last disciple to be personally called by Our Lord Jesus himself. For the Gospels tell us that Jesus immediately leaves this town of Jericho and walks the ten or so miles to the outskirts of Jerusalem, where He gets on a donkey and rides into the Holy City on Palm Sunday.

And so Bartimaeus, just a day or so after receiving his sight, becomes an eye-witness to that first Holy Week to Christ’s Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, to Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple with a home made whip, to His betrayal and arrest, to the Scourging and Crowning with Thorns, to the Way of the Cross and finally to the death and burial of Jesus.

And then, with his own eyes, Bartimaeus sees the empty tomb, and then sees the Risen Lord in the Flesh, with His glorified wounds.

He got to see all this and more, all because his prayer to Jesus was “Master, I want to see.” Not just with my eyes, but with the eyes of faith, do I want to see.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, this prayer of Bartimaeus should be our prayer to Jesus as well. “Master, I want to see.”

Even the best of us have a hard time, even the saints had a hard time, always seeing with the eyes of faith “24/7”. Look at the disciples in today’s Gospel: they begin by rebuking Bartimaeus, telling him to be silent. They didn’t think Jesus wanted to be bothered with a poor beggar. How blind they were! Jesus says to them “I want you to call him for me, to encourage him, not scold him.”

And how often are we like those disciples — how often do we come in contact with people each day who are begging to see Jesus, to experience His love, people who Jesus wants us to reach out to and, by our actions or words, bring them to Him? But because of our spiritual blindness, we pay them no heed.

And then a few days later, entering Jerusalem, the crowd is cheering Jesus as their hero and savior “Hosanna to the Son of David,” waving Palm Branches of Victory. But how blind they were — they thought Jesus was going to overthrow the Romans and make them all rich and famous overnight. When they saw later in the week that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah they were looking for, the same crowd lost patience and turned against Him.

And don’t we all fall in to the same blindness at times? We start out fervent in the faith like the crowd on Palm Sunday, but when God takes too long to answer us, we grow impatient and give up on God.

And then, when Pilate displays Jesus to the crowd, scourged and bloodied and wearing a crown of thorns, many people saw Jesus and said to Pilate “Take Him away, Take Him away!” They couldn’t bear the sight of Jesus, because He convicted them of their sins.

In the same way, we also don’t want to face our own sins head on, we’d rather run away from seeing how ugly sin is. But if we truly want to see as Bartimaeus did, as painful as it is, we need to see what our sins do to Jesus, so that we might atone for them.

Yes, if we want to see Jesus Risen and Glorified, we like Bartimaeus must follow Him on the way — the Way of the Cross. The more we embrace the Cross in our lives, the more our vision will become 20/20.

And finally, even after the Resurrection, the disciples were blind and didn’t immediately see Jesus. Remember the story of the two men on the road to Emmaus: Jesus walks with them for hours, talking to them about the Scriptures, and while their hearts start to burn within them, they still don’t recognize Him.

And it’s not until Jesus takes Bread and blesses and breaks it that Luke says Their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, but He vanished from their sight.

After two hours of Bible study and then Holy Communion, the disciples see the Risen Lord Jesus only for a brief moment — and then they are blind again! And so it is with us who walk by faith not by sight. But these little glimpses we get of the Risen Lord every now and then in life, after much prayer and worthy reception of Holy Communion, are meant to carry us through the dark valleys of life.

Meanwhile, we keep praying each day, and especially each Sunday when we receive the Lord in the Holy Eucharist Master, I want to see.

And one day, when our pilgrimage through life has ended, the light will go out of our earthly eyes once and for all. And then, if we’ve seen with the eyes of faith in this life, we will hear said to us “Take courage; rise, Jesus is calling you.”

And like Bartimaeus, we will receive sight from Jesus. Our eyes will be opened, and the first thing we’ll see is the face of Christ Our Lord smiling at us. And looking around us we will see the glory of Heaven, a place that eye has not seen. . . .nor has it so much dawned on us what God has prepared for us there. All blindness will have ended, and we shall see as we have never seen before for ever and ever.

2 Responses to “Homily — 30th Sunday OT B October 29, 2006”

  1. Father Woolley says:

    Hello Robert,

    Thanks for your comments. But frankly I am baffled at why the IRS would look into our Church sponsoring a billboard that simply has a picture of a baby with the words “God says My Life is Precious! Heartbeat 18 days from conception. Prolife Across America.” and the phone number and address of that non-partisan group. What law did we break in doing so? Should the Catholic Church be silent about the truth that an unborn child is a human being with an inalienable right to life? God forbid!

    Also, I have never, from the pulpit or outside the pulpit, told parishioners who to vote for or not to vote for. I have however (and please God will continue to do so) drawn attention to the grave responsibility we Catholics have as citizens to defend innocent human life from conception to natural death, and that this responsibility must weight heavily on our conscience as we enter the voting booth. My fear is that in this “most Catholic state of Rhode Island” it bears little to no weight on the conscience of most so-called Catholics who vote.

    None of this is my own opinion; it is that of the Holy Catholic Church you and I profess to believe in. Here are the words of Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), speaking as Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith a few years ago to the United States Bishops:

    “A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. ****When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons*****.” (emphasis mine)

    Thus, the Church teaches that one may at times vote for a candidate whose stand contradicts the Gospel of Life, but only on the grounds that there is good reason to believe that the opposing candidate will cause even graver evils to humanity if he or she is voted into office.

    God Bless,

    Fr. Woolley

  2. robert b. says:

    Good morning Father Woolley:
    We attended the children`s mass yesterday,it was very well done and nice to see the children with their costumes,not to be cofused with Halloween getups,I guess St.Joan of Arc must have been tempting to trick or treat with.
    You must be somewhat dissapointed with the few comments on your site.you do have a good website. I was always under the impression that religion and politics should not be discussed,how times have changed. I am bothered by the church using the pulpit to promote their agenda,now we are accepting donations for billboards,I am sure you are aware that the IRS will be looking into that ,I have made a small wager with my wife that your homily this sunday will be to inform us that as catholics we have to vote for Pro-life candidates.or else there will be hell to pay(no pun intended).Father,since no one is posting comments,I thought you might be interested how some of your parishnors feel.