YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: “I Want to See Really!”
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Let me share this story posted on Facebook. A little girl was on an airplane and as she was about to begin reading from her book, a man sat beside her. He immediately started a conversation. “Hey, little lady, it looks like we will be together in this plane for the next eight hours. Do you want to talk and make this flight more interesting?” The little girl lifted her eyes from her book and nodded. She said to the man, “And what would you like to talk about?” “Oh, I am not sure,” said the man. “But you see, I’m an atheist. How about if we discuss why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?” “Okay,” she said. “I’m interested. But before we begin, let me first ask you a question.” “Go ahead,” the man said, “I’m listening.” The girl said, “A horse, a cow, and a goat all eat grass.Yet a horse produces big clumps, while a cow discharges a flat patty, and a goat excretes little pellets. Can you explain why that is?” The atheist was visibly surprised and said, “Oh! I have no idea.” The little girl quickly delivered her final blow: “And you think you are qualified to discuss why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death, when you don’t know shit?” Then she went back to her book.
Failure or refusal to see God in the countless works of His creation is definitely the worst kind of blindness. Such is the case with atheists. It is often and rightly said that a blind man may still have the possibility of seeing, but a man with good eyes but refuses to see surely cannot see.
This Sunday, the Gospel gives us the story of a blind man, named Bartimaeus. People looked down on him simply because he was blind. It is the belief of many Jews that sickness and physical defects, such as blindness, are punishments due to sin. This must be the reason why he was called Bartimaeus. Literally, it comes from the Aramaic, which means “son of defilement” (tame’). But in the Greek version, this name means “son of honor” (timÉ). By giving the name Bartimaeus with its double meaning, the Gospel writer, St. Mark, must be saying that here is someone who is supposed to be a man of honor and dignity (timÉ) but living in a state of dishonor and shame (tame’). (M. Ezeogu).
But this was not for long. Bartimaeus had a powerful sense of perception and sensitivity. He heard the coming of Jesus from afar. He also had powerful spiritual sight. Despite being blind, he had better sight than the disciples and the rest of the crowd. He shouted: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The Messiah, according to the prophets, will come from the royal lineage of King David; hence he is known as Son of David.
Even before encountering Jesus, Bartimaeus already “saw” him as the true Messiah. After this brief encounter with the Lord, he not only received his sight, but most importantly, he regained his great dignity as a child of God and follower of Jesus.
The story of Bartimaeus is the story of each one of us. God created us to be His sons and daughters of honor and dignity. But because of our sins, many of us are living as sons and daughters of dishonor and shame. It is our sins of pride and egoism that usually make us blind.
We are blind to the presence of God because we are consumed by the pursuit of our selfish ambitions. We fail to see and appreciate the many blessings we have because we want and crave for more. We have voracious appetite for material things and our thirst for power and praise is unquenchable. We refuse to see the goodness and giftedness of others because, in our pride and arrogance, we think we are the best, the first and the greatest. We choose to ignore our own sins and weaknesses because we have grown used to our hypocrisy and lies. We cannot see and read the signs of the times because we believe the world revolves around us. We live in complete darkness because of our pride and selfishness.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the apparitions of the Lord and the Blessed Mother were to innocent children and simple folks. It is the humble and the little ones that see God readily. Jesus prayed, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed to the childlike!” (Mt 11:25).
Let the Gospel today open our eyes. It is a call to repentance and conversion. For a long time, many of us are living in dishonor and shame due to our pride, selfishness and arrogance. This is now the time for us to throw aside our cloaks of false comforts and delusions, rise up and stand with honor and dignity, and come to Jesus who is meek and humble of heart.
Let the prayer of Bartimaeus be ours: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me. I want to see!”
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