Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Catholic Reflections 696 : Thirtieth Sunday of the Year B . - Sunday, 28 October 2018

Homily Thirtieth Sunday of the Year B.  - Sunday, 28 October 2018

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-9
Psalm: Ps 125. “
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
Second Reading: Hebrews 5:1-6
Gospel Acclamation: cf 2 Timothy 1:10
Gospel: Mark 10:46-52
Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Thirtieth Sunday of the Year B .  - Sunday, 28 October 2018 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/30b-28th-october-2018-faith-hope-and-love-ep-120  (EPISODE: 120)

“What is it that you want me to do for you?”
Fr Paul’s thoughts:  There are a couple of very striking moments in the Gospel today. There is a blind beggar whose name we are given as Bartimeus. He is persistent in his cries to Jesus because he KNOWS that Jesus is the Messiah and he KNOWS Jesus can help him.  It also says that he ‘throws off his cloak’  (the cloak and badge of a beggar) and goes to Jesus.  Jesus asks him “what do you want me to do for you?”  Jesus asks us all, ‘think about what you are really asking from me. What do you really want?  What do you really NEED?”  
It also says that the Bartimeus regained his sight as he walked along following Jesus. In another sense, we all gain new sight as we cast off the cloak of old ways and old excuses and faithfully walk along the way of Jesus.

Here is a blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus. He simply will NOT be silenced. He calls out for help even when well-meaning (but wrong-footed) people tell him to be silent. He persistently cries to Jesus for help, because he KNOWS that Jesus is the Messiah. He also KNOWS that Jesus can help him.

I can’t help wondering if Bartimaeus is not the inspiration for Jesus’ parable of the persistent neighbor. He keeps knocking and keeps calling out until he gets what he needs. As Jesus said in that parable, other people would have given the persistent neighbour what they needed just because they wanted him to stop irritating them and to give them peace. So, how much more can we expect God to turn a real listening ear, a sympathetic ear to people who cry out in their need! Naturally, God is very much concerned with our welfare and with what we need. God doesn’t answer us merely to shut us up but out of the deepest care and compassion. 

The Gospel passage also says that Bartimaeus does something very powerful: He 'throws off his cloak' (the cloak of a beggar was like a "badge" of a beggar), and goes to Jesus. He is already showing that he KNOWS he is not going back to his old life and doesn't want to. 

Jesus asks him "what do you want me to do for you?" 

Jesus asks all of us, "What do you want from me? Think about what you are really asking of me. What do you really want? What do you really NEED?" 

Naturally, Bartimaeus is asking for his sight back. But Jesus is asking him a deeper question: “Do you realize the consequences of what you are asking? Do you understand what this request is going to lead you to receive?” For Bartimaeus, it will mean a completely new life. When he receives his sight, he will no longer be a beggar, and he will have to face a new life, a new vocation, and a new everything. This is both exciting and scary.  

A true encounter with Jesus is always a joy and a challenge. Our encounter with Jesus, is a two-way dialogue; We speak to God of our needs and hopes and fears and God replies with a (silent) question: “what is it that you are really asking?”…. and “Are you prepared for the whole change of circumstances that goes with the encounter?”

Apparently, Bartimaeus is one of the few people Jesus cured who we are explicitly told in the text that he also went on to become one of his disciples. So, it is clear that as well as regaining his physical sight, Bartimaeus (equally importantly) has shown enormous clarity of spiritual insight, into who Jesus is and what following him means.

When Bartimaeus regained his sight and Jesus tells him "go your way" and beautifully, Bartimaeus ' "way" is now to FOLLOW Jesus, because it says he follows him along “the way.” He became a follower, a disciple. As he walks along following Jesus he will continue to gain NEW (spiritual) sight and knowledge. In another sense, we all gain new sight as we cast off the “cloak” of old ways and old excuses and faithfully walk along the new ways of Jesus. 

We are like Bartimaeus, asking Jesus to show us and teach us deeper ways to combine mercy and justice, faithfulness to his teaching and loving compassion for those who have stumbled and are searching for answers. 

As we walk along the road of God’s mercy, let us explore and celebrate the richness of God’s mercy and love. Like Bartimaeus let us continue to see with the eyes of faith and love, and follow the Lord along the exciting ways of the newness of sight. 

We need to be very careful about spiritual blindness. It can be a very subtle thing. We must all be on our guard against spiritual blindness and we would do best to suspect that we have aspects of Spiritual blindness in our lives and search for it and put any aspects of it before our Lord for the purpose of healing. 

The most glaring example is something we probably have all seen at one time or another…  perhaps we have even done something like this ourselves…    we might have sat through Mass and heard a gospel speaking of patience, and forebearance and treating our neighbour as ourself, and then straight after church someone is beeping and shouting at another parishioner in the carpark because they are in their road…..   it wouldn’t be quite so tragic if he people doing this said to themselves… oh, dear…  I have just done the opposite to what we heard in the gospel today…  but shockingly..   it looks as if the person doesn’t even see the irony of their actions and has somehow disconnected that they have just done completely from what they have just heard……  it is hard enough when we are aware of thee areas we contradict God’s message by our actions, but save us Lord from being inconsistent and not even realising it!!!!
   that is some worrying blindness…  ///   let us ask God to at least allow us to see the areas of hypocrisy…. And heal them…..

You and I may very well have a glaring blindness to some aspects of Jesus’ explicit teachings and message. 

How is it that we can hear the gospel and not always realise that this very gospel is ‘convicting’ us of precisely the qualities it lists. How is it that when we listen to gospels we do not realize that this message is directed at us and that we might also be the Pharisees and the critics or the hypocrites. Christ asks us to be open to this possibility. To ask ourselves constantly, do I do that? How do I do this? And not too  quick to say, “ah that is not me, that is other people!”   Are we sure????? 

Christ invites us to be transformed…. If we ask the Lord to free us from spiritual blindness, the Lord will do it, and show us the contradictions.. if we know what it is we are asking for…. And what it means for us….

TO what extent are we capable of being blind to the challenging message and vision of Jesus? In what ways do we “listen and listen and yet ‘not hear’”? In what ways do we look and look and not see……?? 

Lord, show us the light…. Help us to see… and to trust in your challenging, but healing word…..

Fr Paul W. Kelly

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Texts used in this programme are for the purposes of worship and prayer for listeners wherever you are.
Prayers and chants are taken from the English Translation of the Roman Missal, edition three, © 2010, The International commission on English in the liturgy.
Scriptures are from the New Revised Standard Version: © 1989, by the national council of Churches of Christ, USA. , //adaptations to conform with Catholic liturgical norms, © 2009, by the same.

Psalm verses are taken from “The Psalms: the Grail Translation. Inclusive Language Version.” ©1963, 1995, 2004 The Grail (England), published by HarperCollins. London.

Prayers of the Faithful are adapted from Robert Borg’s 1993 book “Together we pray”. Published in Sydney Australia By  E.J. Dwyer. (out of print).

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May God bless and keep you.

Thirtieth Sunday of the Year B.
Sunday, 28 October 2018)   (EPISODE: 120 )

The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

The Lord be with you.
As we gather to celebrate the sacrament of God’s love and grace,  on this Thirtieth Sunday of the Year B. ,
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
so as to celebrate worthily the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you came to reconcile us to the Father and to one another: Lord, have mercy//You heal the wounds of our sin and division: Christ, have mercy// You intercede for us with the Father: Lord, have mercy//
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

Memorial Acclamation

When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.


Sundays Ordinary V

Eucharistic Prayer II

Communion side.  pwk: 
Go in peace. (glorifying the Lord by your life)

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