SUNDAY HOMILY - The Happy Priest: Open Your Eyes
"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" The blind man cries out to Jesus. He is in need and his faith allows him to recognize that Jesus is the Lord, and that it is the Lord that can answer his need. "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Many people try to stop Bartimaeus. However, the Lord Jesus is able to hear his cry for help, and turns to him with kindness and compassion. "And Jesus said to him, 'What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Master, let me receive my sight'. And Jesus said to him, 'Go your way; your faith has made you well'. And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way" (Mark 10: 51-52).
This beautiful passage from the Gospel of Mark gives us an encouraging lesson of hope. Jesus passes by. He passes by every circumstance of our daily lives. It is only through the vision of faith that we come to recognize his daily presence in our lives. Pride, rationalism, indifference, laziness and discouragement will blind us. However, the light of faith will allow us to see Jesus as he makes himself present.
Faith will allow us to perceive his presence when we pray, when we read the Scriptures, and when we worship at the Eucharistic Banquet. Faith allows us to see him present in our brothers and sisters. Faith allows us to see him present in the ordinary circumstances of our lives, even in those moments that are difficult to handle. Jesus is passing by. It is this vision of faith that allows us not to miss his presence as he passes through each moment of our lives.
One Sunday morning as I welcomed a new young woman to the parish, I asked what she did for a living. She told me that she works with the blind. I smiled and I said that we both have a lot in common. Spiritual blindness is more obstructive than physical blindness. Is not this the situation of our contemporary world?
It is obvious and evident that life begins at the moment of conception, and yet in the face of scientific proof, many continue to promote abortion. If human life did not begin at the moment of conception, why would an abortion be necessary in the first place?
A blind humanity continues to advance destructive practices such as embryonic stem-cell research, homosexual marriages, euthanasia, and human cloning. Many refuse to see the consequences of godless behavior on human society. How much more destruction must take place before people begin to see the truth?
Those who think that they have all of the answers are no longer reachable. Pride is the root of spiritual blindness. Bartimaeus exemplifies the humility that is needed in order to see and to grasp the truth.
Unfortunately, our own country has become profoundly divided between polarizing forces. Moreover, for the first time in the history of our nation, religious liberty is being threatened.
Chicago's Cardinal Francis George, OMI said: "I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square."
The only solution for the problems that we face as a Church and as a nation is to be humble, sincere and open. We are all born blind. Only through the faith we received at baptism do we truly see. Faith gives us a superior vision that allows us to see clearly.
Blessed Pope John Paul II once wrote: "It is urgent to rediscover and to set forth once more the authentic reality of the Christian faith, which is not simply a set of propositions to be accepted with intellectual assent. Rather, faith is a lived knowledge of Christ, a living remembrance of his commandments, and a truth to be lived out. A word, in any event, is not truly received until it is put into practice. Faith is a decision involving one's whole existence. It is an encounter, a dialogue, a communion of love and of life between the believer and Jesus Christ, the way, and the truth, and the life. It entails an act of trusting abandonment to Christ, which enables us to live as he lived, in profound love of God and of our brothers and sisters" (Veritatis Splendor, 88).
Pope Benedict XVI has launched a Year of Faith. He is calling all of us to live the gift of faith that we have received with renewed commitment and a newness of how we live this ...
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