Dear Friends in Jesus Christ…,
We heard in the Gospel the story of a blind man. Jesus is passing through Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd followed Him. They were trying to listen to Him and there is this blind beggar calling out and trying to get His attention. He is annoying and people are trying to quiet him. But he just cries out louder until Jesus stopped and called him over. So the people said, “Man, take courage, get up, for Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Him on the way.
To understand the real message of bible passages we have to know the intention of the author. I think Saint Mark, the Evangelist, wants us to ask the question; who is really blind here, Bartimaeus, the beggar, or the crowd? And what kind of sight is really restored? Is it just the physical sight? I don’t think so. For Jesus said to Bartimaeus that his faith saved him. He believed in Jesus and he really saw the truth. He saw Jesus in his heart. How can we prove it? Just look at what he said and what he did. Bartimaeus expressed his faith in Jesus vocally, publicly, and repeatedly, even after he was scolded and told to keep quiet. He yelled out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” This proves that he made a real effort to know who Jesus is and of what He is capable. The title “Son of David” is used to indicate that Jesus is the promised Messiah. He knew that he needed Jesus. That is why he begged for pity. What did he do to show his faith in Jesus Christ? When the crowd said that Jesus is calling him, the first thing he did was to throw away his blanket. Bartimaeus expressed his faith when he threw aside his cloak, jumped up and came to Jesus. When a blind man throws away his cloak, he had better be healed, or he may never find his cloak. Moreover, a cloak was worth much more I Biblical times, for it was used as collateral and shelter. Bartimaeus expressed his faith by being fearless. Do we have the courage to call-out for healing and admit that we need Jesus to have a better spiritual healing? Archbishop Fulton Sheen said that Catholics believe Our Lady was immaculately conceived but now we live like we are all immaculately conceived; live a sinless life. Could I ask you to reflect on your attitude to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
We prayed in the Responsorial Psalm that “the Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy”. And the First Reading asks us to “Shout for Joy”, for God has shown great mercy towards His people. The Second Reading teaches us how Jesus, our High Priest, brought forth to us mercy and forgiveness.
I found a good story in the book called A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers: And All Who Love Stories That Move and Challenge. I think it is very appropriate to use this week. In Vienna, Austria, there is a church in which the former ruling family, the Hapsburgs, is buried. When royal funerals arrived outside the church, the mourners knocked at the door of the church requesting to be allowed in. A priest inside would ask, “Who is it that desires admission here?” A guard would call out, “His apostolic majesty, the Emperor”. The priest would answer, “I don’t know him.” They would knock a second time, and again the priest would ask who it was. The funeral guard outside would announce, “The highest emperor.” A second time the priest would say, “I don’t know him.” A third time they would knock on the door and the priest would ask, “Who is it?” The third time the answer would be, “A poor sinner, your brother.” This true story reminds us of the fact that we are all sinners no matter what our rank in society or Church. Perhaps we don’t think of ourselves very often as sinners in need of God’s mercy. But today Jesus asks us to be courageous like the blind man, to throw away the blanket of sin and ask for spiritual healing and approach the mercy of God at the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
God Bless You,