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
through 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.
(Feast Day October 19)
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.
Psalm: Ps 125
- 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.
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.
*Bibliography Information Smith, William, Dr. “Entry for ‘Bartimaeus'”. “Smith’s Bible Dictionary”. . 1901. Encyclopedias – International Standard Bible Encyclopedia – Bartimaeus
BARTIMAEUS bar-ti-me’-us (Bartimaios):
A hybrid word from Aramaic bar = “son,” and Greek timaios = “honorable.” For the improbability of the derivation from bar-tim’ai = “son of the unclean,” and of the allegorical meaning = the Gentiles or spiritually blind, see Schmiedel in Encyclopedia Biblica. In Mr (Mark 10:46-52) Bartimeus is given as the name of a blind beggar, whose eyes Jesus Christ opened as He went out from Jericho on His last journey to Jerusalem.
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…..
In a nutshell let’s keep this in mind:Bartimaeus is more than a character in the gospel; he is a model of Christian discipleship: he persists in prayer, relies on Jesus’ pity, responds when called. Like all disciples, he is saved by faith and follows Jesus ‘on the way.’
GOD’S WORD LAST SUNDAY LINKED TO THIS SUNDAYIn 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?
GOD’S WORD CALLING US TO PRAYMuch of our prayer is petition – asking God for things. In what ways are our requests related to improving our discipleship? JESUS, LET ME SEE AGAIN!
A realhomilie by Fr.Kevin Walsh: LET ME SEE AGAIN!
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 first 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 is 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 that he was sitting by the SIDE of the road! He was not yet following Jesus. Listen to 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 us or 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. Spiritual insight…..all of us are the beneficiaries of this grace, and many times that ‘grace’ is carried to us by other people as an Invitation! A positive response generally evokes within us INSIGHT! VISION
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, having left the side of the road, and walked with Jesus and his disciples, resolutely taking the road to Jerusalem….the place of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord.
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 deep and rich 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 then and now.
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 hand of God before us. Narrow-mindedness, hardness of heart, or a preference to live within our inner darkness, is 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.”
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.
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