30th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B – October 25th 2015
As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’ Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Rabbuni,’ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.
When we feel compassionate, we are reaching out to others. Someone’s tears get us crying, or joy gets us laughing. Compassion reaches into the needs of another, and simply wants to be there and to help.
Our first reading (Jeremiah 31:7-9) is about people needing to get home. God knows the yearning of the homeless and the stranger, and reaches out to bring them home. His people would be brought to the homes they had left. It’s still the same – but now God reaches out to us to bring us home to him – close to him in life, living with him in eternity.
ALL HE NEEDED
Our gospel is a response to an illness – of a blind man who shouted at Jesus to hear him. No whispered prayer here. His faith made him shout to Jesus, and to believe that he could be better. He threw away all he had – a cloak – and knew he had found all he needed, the faith that made him strong. This faith gave him energy as he jumped at the sound of Jesus’ name.
Sight returned later; the first gift was faith. Our faith helps us see the world as God sees it. We see creation as the beauty of God and care for it, and men and women as images of God and we care for them. We see beyond labels and categories to everyone as a child of God, and our brother and sister. This is the ‘eye of faith’.
The way of Jesus is the way of light, and of healing, so that nothing inside ourselves can block us from receiving the light of God, the light of his love.
Lighten our burdens Lord, and enlighten our darkness and may we walk in your ways.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger