homily – October 29

Mark 10:46-52

Lord let me see again. We can just imagine the intensity of that plea of Wartimes – oh to see again – to see the face of those he loved, to see the blue sky, fig trees in bloom, to see the familiar homes and streets of Jericho. Please, please release from this darkness – let me see again.

Someone has written that people who have their sight restored after some period of blindness have their own share of difficulties. It’s a bit like getting a new hearing aid that works – a person starts hearing all kinds of new sounds and noises – it can be disconcerting, confusing – its takes a bit of getting used to. It’s the same with regaining one’s sight – a person can be bombarded with all kinds of new sensations – too much, too soon. Again, it takes getting used to.

Often we use this miracle of new sight as an example of being blessed with new insight, a deeper comprehension and appreciation of things. We can start with our faith – let me see again, let me grasp in a deeper way the wonder that God has embraced me in love, that Christ thought enough of me He was willing to die for me – that though my sins are as red as crimson they shall be as white as snow. Let me see again what this very Eucharist we celebrate is all about – that here and now we make present again the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus – This is My Body, this is My Blood given for you – take and eat, take and drink.

But this new sight makes its own demands on us and how we live our faith in word and deed. With his new gotten sight Bartimaeus left his old way of living and followed Christ along the way – he had to make great adjustments in his life with that decision.

Think of the new sight gifted to a man or woman who comes to see that his/her life is beyond control and they need to hand their life over to a higher power – that new sight is costly, demanding that life be lived with the help of others one day at a time for the rest of their lives.

Think for a moment what new sight cost Paul of Tarsus. Paul was a very observant Pharisee – faithful to the law and prophets. He had no truck with those who followed Jesus – he saw them as deserters from their faith. He was out to crush this new movement in the Jewish faith. Then he had his famous encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was struck blind – a symbol of his own inner blindness. But when the scales fell from his eyes – when Paul saw again he knew Jesus not as a heretic but as a savior, as the messiah. He began to preach Jesus as the messiah and was himself seen as a traitor by his fellow Jews – Paul’s new sight caused him to be driven out of synagogues – he was beaten and stoned and imprisoned – Paul’s new sight cost him his life.

There’s that saying, be careful what you ask you, you may get it. If we have the boldness of Bartimaeus and really ask ‘Lord let me see again, ‘Lord let me see, let me understand the meaning of my relationship with you, let me comprehend the full meaning of my call to grow to full maturity in Christ – we would be in for a shock. We might back away from the demands of such new sight – a new sight that demands we see men and women of other faiths and cultures and life styles with a greater openness and respect we ever offered before. Our new sight might compel us to see the homeless and the street people of Toronto with a compassion we never felt before and inspire us to do something for them. Our new sight into our relationship with Christ might call us to a deeper appreciation of ourselves as good people, people blessed with many blessings, a wounded people loved and healed.

I like to think that our new church offers us new sight as to what church is all about – it’s about people – its about our oneness with God’s good creation – its about the importance of the table of the altar at which we celebrate a sacrifice of thanks giving – its about this table of the word from which we are nourished with the life giving words of scripture. Its about Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament and His gracious invitation ‘ come to me all you who labor and find life burdensome and I will refresh you.’

As we continue this Mass and going back to our opening prayer – we can pray for ourselves and for each other that we have the boldness of Bartimaeus and ask for sight – a sight that will show us how to do with loving hearts what God asks of us and come to share the life He promises.