Jer 31:7-9; Heb 5:1-6; Mk 10:46- 52
This happened before the beginning of the Second World War. A man took his wife who was closed to giving birth to a Catholic Hospital. In front of the woman was a crucifix hanging on the wall. The man who was an unbeliever said to the nurse: “Take that Christ away. I do not want the eyes of my child who is about to be born to see Christ.”
The baby was born that same night and in the morning the atheist father asked the nurse: “How is my son?” “He is fine,” replied the nurse, “but he will never see Christ.” “Such is my wish,” said the father. The nurse remarked: “That is very wicked wish but it has been answered, the child was born blind.”
Today’s gospel is about a man by the name of Bartimaeus who had a handicap of not seeing. He was blind. He is one of the dregs of Jewish society whose blindness is considered as a punishment from God because of his sinfulness he committed. He was hurt not only physically but also above all, spiritually and emotionally. He is spiritually and emotionally hurt because people rejected him and isolated him from the community and Jesus knew how painful this was. He shouted at Jesus to help him in his sickness. Many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more. So Jesus stopped and told them to call him and cured of his blindness.
Blind people are rampant on the street and in other public places, stretching their hands for alms. Being so used to them, most of us ignore them. Many are reluctant to give, knowing that syndicates are just using most of these. Some of them are really blind physically because all they can see is darkness. But there are people though they are not blind like Bartimaeus, we still consider them as blind, not in the sense of today’s gospel but they are blind morally and spiritually. They become blind because:
First, they are not concern of the plight of the poor. What they look for is their own personal well-being. Like for example, there were more than ten farmers before from Sumilao, Bukidnon who staged a hunger strike in front of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) office in Quezon City. The reason was because the land awarded to them by the government through the Department of Agrarian Reform was not pursued because this land is to be converted into an industrial center. So, where do they get now their food for their family to survive?
Second, they always focus on their status in life that they are poor and they could not do anything about it. So they do not work anymore and lose hope for the future.
Third, because of poverty, they make this as an excuse to make God as secondary in their lives. They are so very busy looking for living. They are not active in the Church and they could not even make the sign of the cross during their meals.
Fourth, because they have already the wealth, they are exploiting people in order to amass more wealth. So the poor now become poorer and the rich become richer.
Fifth, they want to be the center of attraction. These are the people who are KSP (or Kulang Sa Pansin) or attention-seeker.
Actually, we are asked to reflect on three things which are invitations coming from God:
First is to look up to God. Bartimaeus said: “Son of David have pity on me,” (v. 47b). It has two reasons why we turn to God and look up to Him for his mercy: It is because we know that God is Almighty that we ask him to have mercy on us. This is best expressed when we sing the Kyrie eleison or Lord have mercy which comes straight from the words of Bartimaeus in today’s Gospel. St. Josemaria Escriva had beautifully said this in Friends of God, no. 195: “Don’t you too feel the same urge to cry out? You who also are waiting at the side of the way, of this highway of life that is so very short? You who need more light, you who need more grace to make up your mind to seek holiness? Don’t you feel an urgent need to cry out, ‘Jesus, son of David, have pity on me?’ What a beautiful aspiration for you to repeat again and again!”
Second is to look into ourselves. I received a text message some months ago that says: “Can you believe what things people do these days? I was sitting next to this guy in the church, and in the middle of the Mass, he lit a cigarette! I was so shocked I almost dropped my beer!” I received this from a friend of mine maybe she wanted to remind me that I too a sinner. Let us look into ourselves and see we are sinners, we need the forgiveness of God and mercy. And so today, let us spend some time to pray for each and everyone of us who need healing, forgiveness and conversion. Therefore let us ask ourselves: “Presentable ba ako kay Lord?” Are we living a life that is pleasing to God? If we were to come before the Lord today, what sort of a life will we present to Him? Will we be carrying in our hands presents from a life well lived or will we come before Him empty-handed because all our life was focused on the perishable and the degradable? In other words, are we on the pre-sent or the pre-paid lane of life?
Third is to look after others. The blind person is looking for a way that he/she can see or looking for a person so that he could see the light of Christ. Like Bartimaeus, after he had seen, he did not go home anymore but he followed Jesus wherever He went. Just like us also, after we have known Christ through our Baptism, renewal seminars and others, let us not make ourselves BSDU (or Balik Sa Dating Ugali) but to make ourselves true soldiers of Christ who are ready to defend Him in all adversities and ready to help others too. Bartimaeus used his ears, faith, trust and perseverance for Jesus; how much more for us, we are physically whole. Why not give our 100% of our thanksgiving to God?
If you know the song Tanging Yaman, sing it when you go home after this Mass.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B