Homily for the 30th Sunday in ordinary Time
How Sensitive are you to the needs of the people around you?
Dearly Beloved, a story is told of Paul, a middle aged married man with three (3) kids. Apparently his phone rang at mass during consecration. Before the final blessing, the priest used the occasion to advise him and others. Other members of the congregation tried to talk him into even leaving the phone home and not to bring it along to mass. Yet still, others told his wife how she needed to get some of those things under control. As they drove home, the wife used the period to lecture him about how embarrassed his actions caused her, and went on to set some guidelines concerning the phone. Sad to say that that was Paul’s last day at the church.
That same evening, he went to a bar in a restaurant to have a drink. From his frustration, he fumbled with the glass and made a mess, breaking the glass and spilling on another guest. The bar-guy came to apologize and started cleaning the mess. Those whose clothes were messed up said, “hey brother I got your back; your next drink is on me; Sorry Bro this happens once in a while; hope you did not get hurt in the process. Then came the manageress who gave him a hug and announced, “this is on the house”, sat by him for a while to calm him before going back to her office. After this fact, Paul never stopped going to that bar till this date. The question is how you treat people in their weak moments. Do you lift them up to give them hope or do you push them further into their misery?
The gospel presents this popular story of the blind man Bartimaeus. If only those people had an idea of what it meant to be blind, they would have responded differently to this blind man in the gospel. Growing up, I had a friend, Steve, who was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa at birth. Gradually as it were, he lost his vision. He tells his story as how suddenly his choices in life were narrowed. I remember him sharing the sorrows he went through each night praying that this condition would reverse. He had to deal with his grieving family for his condition. By himself he felt so worthless, thinking of who will marry him if he is a burden to society.
After many years, he tells a different story, and his gratitude is with his friends and family who supported him all the way. He’s now married with children and a teacher in a high school. He doesn’t resent anymore.
Unlike my friend, Steve, who had the support of those around him to cope with his situation, this blind man in the gospel, received rebuke from his environment, as if the blindness did not make him feel worse already. He did not just feel rejected and isolated, he experienced it.
Dearly Beloved, there are many who sit at the “roadside” of human society hoping for a miracle to come their way. Some for the work they do and the income they earn, some for the loss of their partner, some because of sickness, some who are aging and do not seem to cope with the changes they experience, some who never had their own children, some young people who never seem to get the right partners, some of our children and friends who are not good academically, those who feel they don’t have the right physical appearance etc. Like Paul, Steve and the blind man they resent. They feel awful and isolated already and they cry inwards repeatedly for help.
Friends, neglect and indifference to such inward yearnings have caused so many to commit suicide. How come none of the people around were gentle and kind enough to this blind man. Each and every one of them was focused on his/her desire to experience Jesus. At the end of the day, it was the one who went back and said he was calling you that also got the chance to be close to Jesus. What does this teach you? Your treatment of others with care and love may be your only one shot experience to get to your own dream in life.
Dearly beloved, permit me to ask you? Do you for any reason feel and experience isolation from the people around you, even from the church? Do you have a family who cares less about you? Are you sick and feel bad and isolated as a result? What is it about you that makes you feel nobody cares? What makes you sit and cry by yourself? What makes you feel your life is not even worth it anymore? Here comes the good news. Jesus is moving in your direction. He is the same yesterday today and forever. He did it then and he continues to do it. Like the blind man, do not resent for the treatment you experience with the people who should have been there for you. Just don’t stop calling out to Him. You do not need to be perfect for him to stop for you.
Just ask him that you want to see; you want to see how much he loves and cares about you regardless of what others see and think of you. Ask him you want to see the riches of his grace installed for you. Ask him you want to see the mysteries of his glory. Ask him you want to see that which many of the saints saw and never gave up. Believe me when your eyes are open, you will equally act like this man when his eyes were opened. What did he do? He followed him. Followed him to where ? and for what (That’s your assignment for the week – Continue the reading from Mark 11)
Beloved, it is my prayer that the good Lord opens the eyes of your minds to see the riches of his glory and the plan he has instore for you in this life and the next to come. Like this man, may He give you the courage to follow him along, regardless of what awaits you.