[30th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B, October 25, 2015 / Jer 31:7-9 / Ps 126:1-2a, 2b-3, 4-5, 6 / Heb 5:1-6 / Mark 10:46-52]
In the famous song “Amazing Grace,” one line goes “I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.” It was written by a former slave trader, John Newton, after his conversion and subsequent opposition to the inhuman trafficking of slaves. The blindness he refers to is not physical but spiritual.
In the gospel of today Jesus heals a blind man. Bartimaeus the blind man is sitting by the side of the road, begging. His life is static –he is sat down and going nowhere until he is touched by divine grace. His life changes, is transformed and he begins to follow Jesus along the Way.
Jesus is the healer and brings sight to the blind. The contact with Jesus changes Bartimaeus, it changed John Newton and can change each one of us. Many times we hardly believe in change. “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” And of course if we don’t experience change personally, we can hardly believe it is possible for this world to change. But as the Spanish song goes, “Don’t give me a new world, but rather give me new eyes to see you working.” It is beautiful to open your eyes and see God working all around us.
I took part in a silent retreat this weekend called, “Be a man.” It was attended by 25 males. It is easy to be a male in the world of today but not so easy to be a man. Looking at Jesus, seeing how he lived helped us all to open our eyes. To see the life we are called to live. It was a great privilege to listen to the fruits of the retreat today in our final sharing. Wow! God is powerful. His grace is amazing and superabundant. The Word of God listened to, assimilated and prayed is really a seed of change for our world of today.
The Word is living and effective, sharper than any two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Being touched in prayer, many of us opened our eyes to see God working in our lives and to hear his call to dedicate more to the mission entrusted to us.
In the episode of Bartimaeus, when he hears that Jesus is calling him and asking him to respond, he threw aside his beggar’s cloak, jumped up and ran to Christ. That cloak encumbered him, stopped him responding with dynamism to the call of the Lord.
What cloak stops you responding more faithfully to the call of the Lord? Sometimes we are too wrapped up in comfort, too engulfed in what others might think or too immersed in indifference, blinded to the needs of others. Lord, open my eyes to see the needs of others! This is a great blindness in our world of today. When we become wrapped up in ourselves then we can become blind in our selfishness. Why not throw away our cloak, our false securities and stand up? As the crowd shouts, “Courage! Get up, Jesus is calling you.”
After experiencing the grace of Christ we will want others to experience it too. This is the challenge of the mission. As the psalmist recounts, “Those who sow in tears will reap with joy” (Psalm 126). Sowing in sweat will yield fruit if we persevere. Many people will be able to experience the grace of Christ through our very own lives. Yes! Jesus asks us and needs our help to bring sight to the blind, to take up the wonderful challenge to be agents of change in our society of today, agents of transformation.
Are you ready to participate in this amazing work? “Yes, of course Lord, I am ready, count me in. I want many more people to experience your amazing grace.”