YEAR B: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY TOPIC: TRUE PRAYER
BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Gospel: Mk 10:46-52
Message # 205: “The Powerful Weapon” (TO THE PRIESTS, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Marian Movement of Priests)
1. The Marian Message
a. The Blessed Mother’s message is full of tenderness and love for her belovedsons (priests): “I look upon you with great tenderness” (letter c). She is fully aware of their extremely difficult situation in the world: “How many difficulties you must overcome: how many sufferings await you each day!” (letter d). She also knows that there is great temptation to be discouraged.
b. But she asks her beloved sons to just entrust themselves to her Immaculate Heart. This means living according to the spirit of her humble and obedient heart: “Be little, poor, humble! Accept, as a gift, your fragility. Never seek eitherto affirm yourself, or to stand out above the others. The way along which I am leading you is that of hiddenness and of humiliation” (letter e).
c. There is always the temptation to try to know what is going to happen. Many are obsessed with prophecies and stories about the future events in the world. The Blessed Mother said: “Don’t be curious to know what is awaiting you, but, at each moment, live in perfect love.” Love entails sufferings and carrying of ourcross to follow Jesus to Calvary. She urges us to continue with this difficult journey, never stopping: “Your mission is sublime, and you must not let it cometo a stop through weakness or human discouragement” (letter g).
d. Then she exhorts us to live in pure love. In this final battle, this love is the powerful weapon that she can use to definitively conquer the enemy, the devil,who is full of lies, arrogance, pride and selfishness.
2. The Sunday Gospel
a. It is the common belief among the Jews that any kind of sickness, infertility and physical disability are God’s punishment for sins. That is why they look down on childless couples, on the lepers, the lame and the blind. One of such people is Bartimaeus. We can, therefore, understand the harsh treatment they gave to him when he tried to have his voice heard by Jesus. Instead of showing him some compassion, they told him to shut up.
b. Bartimaeus is blind, but he was not spiritually blind. Unlike the disciples who could not still understand the teachings of Jesus about his forthcoming sufferings and death; unlike the crowd who were unbelieving, Bartimaeus could see clearly that Jesus is the Messiah. He shouted: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The title Son of David is a messianic title. He had clearer spiritual eyesight than the disciples and the rest of the crowd.
c. Bartimaeus had a strong prayer life. His prayer was confident and persistent. He did not stop calling out despite being told by the people to keep quiet. He shouted very loudly, confident that Jesus would hear him. And he was sure ofwhat he wanted from the Lord. When asked by Jesus, “What do you want me todo for you?” he replied with full conviction, “Master, I want to see.” When he received his sight, he did not go away. He became a faithful follower of Jesus. Far from being an obstacle, for Bartimaeus, his blindness was the reason for knowing Jesus. He could not see anything around him, but he was ultrasensitive to what is happening in his surroundings, and definitely, he could sense the Spirit of God. That made him very open to the workings of the hand of God through Jesus. Prayer is basically making us aware of the presence of God.That is what made Bartimaeus such a strong believer and follower of Jesus.
a. The Blessed Mother urged us in her message to “be little, poor, humble!” and follow “the way along which I am leading you is that of hiddenness and of humiliation.” The miraculous healing of Bartimaeus took place due to his genuine humility and strong faith in Jesus. Faith and humility always come together. That is why Jesus prayed: “I thank you, Father, for what you have hidden from the wise and the learned you have revealed to the merest children!”(Mt 11:25). It was the children, the little ones, the humble ones, who were able to discover the mysteries of the kingdom of God, while the wise and the learned, the experts of the law who have become proud and arrogant were left in the dark. Bartimaeus was blind, and so he had nothing to boast about. That made him humble, and able to see the divine identity of Jesus. On the other hand, it is pride and arrogance that blind us from seeing Jesus and the mysteries of God’s kingdom. A person may have doctorate degrees in the sacred sciences like Theology, Scriptures and Canon Law, but if he is proud, he cannot know Jesus, and his faith remains superficial and weak.
b. True prayer, like that shown by Bartimaeus, is simple, sincere, humble, persistent and confident. It is simple: God does not like flowery words. Look at the prayer composed by Jesus, the Our Father. It is the model of our prayers. Let us avoid the long novenas, which use more words than necessary. There is really nothing wrong with praying novenas, but we are just reminded that God listens more to our heart than to our mouths and lips. We ought to pray like a little child talking to his father. A long novena is not a guarantee of an effective prayer, especially when we do not put our hearts and our faith into it. In fact, Jesus warns us against the way pagans pray – “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words” (Mt6:7). If we ever pray novenas or any devotional prayer, we have to make sure we understand and internalize what we are reading and praying.
c. True prayer is sincere and humble. Bartimaeus prayed: “Son of David, have pity on me. I want to see.” There was nothing in that prayer but a sincere heart. There is no trace of any selfish motivation. Jesus said, “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that others may see them” (Mt 6:5). Sometimes we are like hypocrites when we pray or go to Mass – there are many hidden motivations rooted in our pride and egoism. That is why our prayers remain unanswered.
d. True prayer is persistent and confident. Bartimaeus did not stop calling out to Jesus. He did not get discouraged despite the rough treatment by the crowd.And he was very sure Jesus could heal him. He never doubted the power ofJesus, the Son of David, the true Messiah. Persistence is a clear sign of a strong faith. And this kind of persistent prayer bears fruit in due time. This is what Jesus taught us in Mt. 11:5-8, about the friend who comes in at night: “I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get upto give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.”
e. Finally, true prayer ends up in following Jesus more closely. This is shown by Bartimaeus. After he received his sight, he followed Jesus along the way of discipleship. Many of us pray because we are asking for a special favor fromGod. When the prayer is answered, we continue with our life as if nothing happened. Too often, we forget that God grants our petitions because He wants to show us that He loves us in a very special way, and that He wants us to be closer to Him. It is always an invitation to follow Him. What a waste if our prayer is answered by God, and still we remained far away from Him. Ultimately, our prayer “Lord, give me this, and give me that” should be replaced by: “Lord, I want to follow you. Lord, I wish to do you will.” That is the prayer, which encompasses the totality of all our needs, physical and spiritual. Following Jesus, and doing God’s will are the key to a complete and perfect life in God.
Sing the song ‘Amazing Grace’.
GUIDE QUESTIONS FOR SHARING:
1. Sa iyong personal na pag-unawa, ano ang tunay na pananalangin?
2. Naniniwala ka ba na ang labis na paghahangad ng kayamanan o kapangyarihan ay nakabubulag?
3. Sa pagsusuri sa iyong sarili, masasabi mo bang mas malapit ka ngayon sa Panginoon kaysa noon?
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