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THE WRITTEN STYLE OF THE REALHOMILIE
It is my aim that I present the Homily to you in a way that you might hear me speaking.
I do not follow the strict rules of written prose as such; I use the techniques of oratory shared with me
in many Mission Sermons, and Mission Instructions by tried and true Mission Fathers,
from whom I am priveliged to
have been formed in that great tradition.
St.Paul of the Cross. Pray for us.
THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.
It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in my being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.
First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-9
The Lord says this:
Shout with joy for Jacob!
Hail the chief of nations!
Proclaim! Praise! Shout!
‘The Lord has saved his people,
the remnant of Israel!’
See, I will bring them back
from the land of the North
and gather them from the far ends of earth;
all of them: the blind and the lame,
women with child, women in labour:
a great company returning here.
They had left in tears,
I will comfort them as I lead them back;
I will guide them to streams of water,
by a smooth path where they will not stumble.
For I am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my first-born son.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)
Psalm: Ps 125
R. The Lord has done great things for us;
we are filled with joy.
When the Lord delivered Zion from bondage,
it seemed like a dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
on our lips there were songs. R.
The heathens themselves said: ‘What marvels
the Lord worked for them!’
What marvels the Lord worked for us!
Indeed we were glad. R
Deliver us, O Lord, from our bondage
as streams in dry land.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap. R.
They go out, they go out, full of tears,
carrying seed for the sowing:
they come back, they come back, full of song,
carrying their sheaves. R.
Second Reading: Hebrews 5:1-6
Every high priest has been taken out of mankind and is appointed to act for men in their relations with God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins; and so he can sympathise with those who are ignorant or uncertain because he too lives in the limitations of weakness. That is why he has to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honour on himself, but each one is called by God, as Aaron was. Nor did Christ give himself the glory of becoming high priest, but he had it from the one who said to him: You are my son, today I have become your father, and in another text: You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, and for ever.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Let’s PAUSE again after this Reading, and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g. ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday! We never say it… 🙂
Gospel: Mark 10:46-52
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.
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..
DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES
If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often.
Focusing the word
Key words and phrases
Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.
What do you want me to do for you?
Master let me see again.
Go; your faith has saved you.
He followed Jesus.
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
to the point
Bartimaeus is more than a character in the gospel; he is a model of Christian discipleship: he persists in prayer, relies on Jesus’ pity, comes when called. Like all disciples, he is saved by faith and follows Jesus ‘on the way.’
Connecting the Word
to last Sunday
In both gospels Jesus asks the same question, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ James and John asked for glory; Bartimaeus for sight. What do you want Jesus to do for you?
to our prayer
Much of our prayer is petition – asking God for things. In what ways are our requests related to improving our discipleship?
Understanding the Word
Blindness, spiritual sight, and discipleship
In Mark’s gospel Jesus began his journey to Jerusalem in 8:22, and in this Sunday’s gospel he has just about arrived: this is the last event prior to his triumphal entrance on Palm Sunday. The journey began with the healing of a blind man (8:22-26) and now it ends with the healing of blind Bartimaeus (10:46-52). Between these two stories of blindness we find the three passion predictions, each one followed by a graphic and embarrassing presentation of the disciples’ spiritual blindness as they fail to understand Jesus’ identity and mission. This journey to Jerusalem is Jesus’ last attempt to open the eyes of their understanding, to help them to see both who he is and what discipleship means.
The first story about a blind man (8:22-26) records a gradual healing: Jesus first put spittle on the blind man’s eyes and, though the man’s vision improves, he still cannot see clearly; only after Jesus lays hands on him does he see clearly. This is the situation of the disciples as a group: their blindness is only gradually removed. The end of the journey – not Jerusalem, but the cross – will result in clear vision (15:39).
In this Sunday’s episode Bartimaeus appears ‘by the roadside’ – he is not yet on the road with Jesus, i.e., he is not a disciple. When he cries out, he uses the title ‘Son of David’ which rightly points to Jesus’ ancestry and indicates that the rightful heir to the throne is now approaching his own city. Yet, it is not a title that Jesus will use of himself nor does it adequately disclose his true identity. But once approached by Jesus, Bartimaeus addresses him as ‘master’ [Greek = ‘my teacher’], which accurately describes the relationship from a disciple’s perspective. When his eyes are opened and he can see clearly, he follows Jesus on the way. This is the goal of all Jesus’ laboured teaching: to open the eyes of the disciples so that they see him clearly and follow him on the road which leads to the cross.
A realhomilie from Fr.Kevin Walsh
Dear One and All,
There are many stories of the blind being healed in the Gospels, but this one about Bartimaeus is the most well known example. It is loaded with simple and easy-to-understand teaching, and its implications remain the same for all generations.
Before we can begin to appreciate the evergreen message of this Gospel passage, we must go to the Old Testament Reading as a background which gives colour and meaning to the moments which the Gospel presents; especially with its promises ‘of old’ being fulfilled in Jesus, and how the long awaited ‘gathering of the nations’ might be accomplished by a Shepherd Messiah, a suffering Servant, a merciful Father.
Firstly, let’s listen to the tone of the First Reading? Notice that there is a distinct atmosphere of jubilation and expectation? This runs through this section of the Book of Jeremiah, culminating in Chapter 34: 31-34…..the joy of anticipated new deeds that the Lord God will accomplish in the New Covenant at some future time. Notice who will have their hopes realised? Yes, it is the ‘Poor of the Lord’, the anawim, the faithful few, the remnant of Israel. Let’s keep in mind that the Virgin Mary and Elizabeth were representative of the ‘Poor of the Lord’.
It is important to note that there are hints in this reading which are subtle reminders that ‘The One’ who is coming to the rescue has shepherd-like characteristics…. The text says, ” See, I will bring them back….” further on it says, ” and gather them….” and still further on it says, ” I will comfort them…..” Question? Who are some of these people? ‘The lame, the blind, the so called ‘fringe people’. Another question that should be asked could well be: What will these people receive when they are gathered together? The answer is ‘new life’, and this is demonstrated in the text, where it says ‘ I will guide them to streams of water’. Water being a rich Biblical symbol for “new life”. Now, we need to keep all of the above in mind as we look at the growing relationship in faith, between Jesus and Bartimaeus, and Bartimaeus and Jesus. I have deliberately phrased it that way…you will see why as we move on.
It was a moment of grace! Bartimaeus was blind, and Jesus of Nazareth was passing by; but notice that it is Jesus accompanied by a crowd, who were passing by…could this mean that the remnant, the ‘Poor of the Lord’ are being gathered and following Jesus? Most certainly that would seem to be the Biblical meaning of this procession from Jericho to Jerusalem! Bartimaeus had a choice, and what he did was a response to an innate invitation from the Lord God in Jesus. Notice what he shouted, “Son of David, “have pity on me!” Let’s stay with this for a moment….Bartimaeus, in his shouting, was praying the opening line of Psalm 50….‘ Have pity on me of God….’ This Psalm is one of the greatest Acts of Contrition in the whole of the Scriptures. Now Bartimaeus could have let Jesus go by, or he could seize the moment, and seek healing. Within an act of ‘spiritual poverty’ he called out to Jesus in the midst of opposition. Jesus did not go around healing anybody and everybody. But let’s not forget that Jesus heard ‘the cry of the poor’ Ps 130:1 ‘out of the depths I cry to you O Lord. Jesus asked others to bring Bartimaeus to him. Here is another example of Intercession, in fact the Intercessors place a prayerful word on the lips of the blind man “Courage” he is calling you! There are just so many occasions in the Scriptures where we see Prayers of Intercession at hand, and we see that people are often the vehicle for Intercessions to be forwarded to the Lord God. This is one of those examples. The ‘gathering of the poor of the Lord’ who were accompanying Jesus reinforced the invitation to others along the way, by triggering an experience of salvation in those who freely responded to the Lord’s invitation. In this case, the man by the roadside had to make a decision about stopping him in the midst of opposition or letting him go on. Notice that Jesus says, ‘It is your faith that has healed you’. Faith in this instance is the graced moment of being able to see the saving hand of God at work in Jesus.
We can see that Bartimaeus was very determined. When he called out, some of those around him tried to tell him to shut up, and stay quiet. That in itself could have been enough to put him off. However, he shouted all the louder and kept shouting until Jesus stopped, and called him over. Don’t forget, Bartimaeus was blind, and yet Jesus called him over to him. Jesus remained where he was, and waited for Bartimaeus to come to him. Perhaps in throwing off his cloak as he went to Jesus was symbolic of him leaving his old way of life behind, and finding security and truth within the mantle of Jesus’ merciful and healing love. Let us pause for a moment on the request of Bartimaeus….” Let me see again!” This request has even deeper implications for all of us….the again means that he had eyes to see before; he was now in the dark! Another chance to see? A return from this man (representative of many others) to the author of all new life! A graced moment of Reconciliation.
To complete our task in this realhomilie, I would like to dwell for a moment on another action which is extremely symbolic for Bartimaeus and equally profound for all of us. The local Intercessors who placed their prayer on his lips…‘courage’, also placed an action-response on him as well…..‘Get up, He is calling you’. In his response to this Intercession, the throwing off the cloak of the past, and the rising up, jumping up, is an action of rising to new life which can be seen as being part of the external signs of the inner experience of being saved……salvation! To finish off, there is still something precious that we cannot overlook; notice what Jesus said to Bartimeaus at the end of this encounter…..‘Go, your faith has saved you’…..the question is then asked: Go where? It would seem that the dismissal from Jesus is not…..Go now you are OK, but GO and proclaim to the entire world the nearness of the Kingdom as you have experienced it! Make Disciples of all nations…..It was in the GOING, that his sight was returned, because through his spiritual sight, Bartimeaus could see in Jesus the saving hand of God at work. Another question……where did the healed man go to? The answer is profound: he followed Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life with the others who had gathered with Jesus along that road which leads to Jerusalem, and then post Passion/Resurrection to the New Jerusalem! And then to top it off, at this time when the Gospel of Mark was written, the followers of Jesus were not called Christians, they were called THE WAY! See the play on words? Isn’t that fantastic? This is why we walk slowly through God’s Word with heightened sensitivity, so that we do not miss anything.
As we read the Scriptures, we see the need to take it slowly or we will miss some of its meaning. I think that we should read the Scriptures with a Geiger counter attached by USB into our heads so that we don’t miss anything. I cannot emphasise enough the importance of reflective listening while reading God’s Word. At this point I want to publically thank Fr. Robert Crotty CP, who inspired me and many others who enabled us to be ‘caught’ by God’s Word. As students for the Priesthood way back in the late 1960’s and 70’s we were so fortunate to have Biblical Scholars, like Robert, Jerome Crowe,C.P and Angelo O’Hagan OFM at Yarra Theological Union, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia to inspire us.
Every one of us has moments of grace in the course of any day. Unlike Bartimaeus, we may not be ready, or we may not be determined enough to avail ourselves of the opportunity being offered. Jesus of Nazareth is passing by each moment of every day. We have a choice, and we know it at the time. I am sure that all of us can remember times when we have let opportunities of grace pass by, and they never return in the same way.
We all have our blindness, but there are none so blind as those who do not want to see. If Jesus is to be effective in our lives, then we must be open and honest before him, and we must rid ourselves of any attempts to impress, to deny or to pretend. Jesus sees us exactly as we are. Jesus is real! Jesus knows where healing is needed within us. It is up to us, like Bartimaeus, to know our need of inner healing, seize the moment, and go to Jesus amidst the distractions which would have us stay still; blind, or excuses saying we have no time to see the saving God before us. Narrow-mindedness, hardness of heart, or a preference to live within our inner darkness where growth is impossible can be a real temptation. Our lives can be full of miracles if we choose to permit them to happen. Let us all be daring and adventurous in seeking healing, just like Bartimemas, and Jesus will say to us, “Your faith has saved you.”
God Bless you and your families and may we never forget each other in prayer. Fr.Kev
A LITTLE REFLECTION ON SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS
Selfishness: this blinds us to the needs of others;
Insensitivity: this blinds us to the hurt we are causing others
Snobbery: this blinds us to the equal dignity of others
Pride: this blinds us to our own faults;
Prejudice:this blinds us to the truth
Self-centeredness: this blinds us to the beauty of the world around us.
Materialism: this blinds us and makes us numb to spiritual values.
OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………
This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. During Easter tide you might like to place some white and gold material on your devotional altar. You might like to create your own permanent ‘sacred space’ in your home, where the Word of God is open, and a small tee light within a fire proof glass, could awaken in the minds and hearts of your family of the ‘real presence’ of God in His Word. Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. The burning of some fragrant oil also can evoke in the minds of your family, ‘prayer time’. Someone in the family might like to be the leader of the intercessions, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…
Leader: As with Bartimaeus, Jesus will have pity on us when we make known our needs. Let us pray, then, with confidence.
For the pilgrim Church to see all people in need along her path and always interrupt the journey to respond. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
For all people to go on their life journey in peace. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
For the safety of travellers and relief for those in need. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
For each of us to persist in prayer so that we might have a deeper relationship with Jesus. We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones, ipads & tablets….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., We pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.
Leader: Gracious God, you give us all we need faithfully to follow your Son Jesus to eternal glory: hear these our prayers that our faith might be deepened and we might be more surefooted along our journey to the cross and resurrection. We ask this through that same Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.
Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.
1. The Cross
ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.
2. The bread……………
ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.
3. The pain……………….
ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.
4. The joy………………
ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT.
5. The Gospel……………
ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.
6. The love…………
ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.
7. The light……………
ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.
8. The darkness…………….
ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.