30th Sunday in Ordinary time Year B- Mk 10, 46-52 – Sermon Thoughts

30th Sunday in Ordinary time Year B- Mk 10, 46-52 – Sermon Thoughts


The gospel passage of this Sunday proclaims the curing of a blind man. What is the speciality of this narration? Extra-ordinary to other healing narrations, the cured man has got a name- Bartimeus. It is translated “Son of Timeus”. And as a co incidence Jesus is addressed here “son of David” by the blind man.
In that way I may reduce this gospel passage in one sentence. “This is a dialogue between Sons of Israel”. The Son of David speaks to Son of Timeus or Son of God speaks to a son of Israel.

This Gospel is an expression of two basic ideas.
1. God wants to interact with his people. He is expressing it by overcoming the contra opinions of the “many”.

2. God wants to cure the blindness. Blind is not only the Son of Timeus. In faith he is better than the “many” that were following Jesus. And the sight Jesus wanted to give was not physical, but spiritual.

Jesus is addressed Son of David. Who is David? The Old Testament prophecies underline the importance of David in the Salvation History. Yes, Christ, the Messiah is to descend from David’s Family. This is to emphasize the messianic nature of Jesus. More over the Messiah will bring light for those who live in darkness. It is not only a physical light. But it is more than that – a spiritual light. Making them capable to “see God”.

How could Bar Timäus recognize Jesus as the “Son of David”? How can he pray “for have mercy on me”- a prayer only addressed to Messiah? According to Jewish religion, it is God alone who can show mercy. So Bar Timeus is proclaiming Jesus as the Christ. And he had the inner light of recognizing Christ in Jesus?

The sciences say that many of handicapped persons have some special powers. They may lack some external abilities. But they may have some other extra qualities. Bar Timeus had such a quality in his Faith?

I find in Bar Timeus 3 special qualities.

1. He was accepting his Self. He knew he was blind. And he accepts it. But he wanted to overcome it. He knew that it was naturally impossible. For that he found his Hope in the supernatural power of Jesus.

2. Bar Timeus found the right person. He didn’t reach somebody, not a physician, but Jesus. And he believed in Him.

3. He cried out. He showed his feelings and needs with no limitation. Many tried to block him. But he wasn’t hesitated.

Bar Timeus places some questions before us! How we practice our faith? Are we accepting our weakness? Or are we having the thought, that we are “complete” persons? Are we reaching the best person in our need? Especially in our faith-crisis? Is Jesus our best helper? Can we extend our hearts to him? Or are we thinking, what others may think about us?

Bar Timeus is the best example for us. We can change our sonship with the expression of our faith. We can become children of God. Are we powerful enough? Let us pray for that. Amen!

– Fr Thomas Kalathil

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3 thoughts on “30th Sunday in Ordinary time Year B- Mk 10, 46-52 – Sermon Thoughts

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    CBCI web gives….

    XXX SUNDAY B

    Readings
    First Reading: SUNDAY JER 31:7-9
    Second Reading: HEB 5: 1-6
    Gosple: MARK 10:46-52

    Anecdote 1) 1: An ancient eye test for spiritual blindness: Fr. De Mello tells a story which would help us to check our spiritual blindness. A hermit asked his disciples: “When do you say that the night is ended and it is morning?” The first disciple said: “I say that it is morning when I can distinguish an oak tree from a maple tree.” The hermit said: “No.” The second disciple answered: “I know it is morning when I can distinguish a cow from a sheep at a distance.” Once again the hermit disagreed. The third disciple replied “It is morning when no star is visible in the cloudless sky.” “That is also a wrong answer,” said the hermit. Then he explained:” I know it is morning when I can recognize a person as a son or daughter of God, and hence my own brother or sister.”

    Anecdote 2) “I wish to be able to see my children eat off gold plates.” According to a Jewish legend there was once a blind man who was married but had no children. Although his life was hard, he never complained. One day as the blind man was sitting by a river, the prophet Elijah came to him from heaven and he said, “Even though your life has been hard, you never complained, and so God will grant you one wish.” The poor man frowned. “Only one wish!” he said. “I’m blind, I’m poor, and I’m childless. How will one wish satisfy all my problems? But give me twenty-four hours and I’ll think up a wish.” He went home and told his wife what had happened. She smiled at him and said, “Eat well and sleep soundly, for I know what you should wish.” He came back the next morning and said to Elijah as he appeared again, “I wish to be able to see my children eat from gold plates.” The wish was granted and the man and his wife lived happily for the rest of their days. Today’s gospel presents another blind man whose wish was to regain sight in order to follow Jesus as a witnessing disciple.

    Introduction

    The central theme of today’s readings is the overflowing mercy and kindness of a loving and forgiving God to His people. The first reading tells us how a forgiving and compassionate God healed the spiritual blindness of His Chosen People by subjecting them to Babylonian captivity and then liberating them, bringing them back to their homeland. The Jerusalem journey of Jesus in the company of the lame and the blind connects the first reading to today’s gospel. The healing of the blind man Bartimaeus in today’s gospel is seen also as the fulfilling of the joyful prophecy of Jeremiah about the return of the exiled Jews from Babylon to their homeland. Today’s second reading from Hebrews 5 presents Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for sins and as the great high priest. It identifies Jesus as the only high priest of the New Testament. It also gives us the assurance as the high priest Jesus is sympathetic to us as one who has shared our human nature. Today’s gospel explains how Jesus shows the same mercy and compassion of his heavenly Father by healing Bartimaeus a blind man. Just as the blind and the lame were God’s concern in the first reading, Jesus is concerned with the blind beggar, Bartimaeus of Jericho. On hearing that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by Bartimaeus loudly expressed his trusting faith in the healing power of Jesus by shouting “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” As Jesus invited him to come to him Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak (symbolizing perhaps the baptismal divesting). His meeting with Jesus gave Bartimaeus the gift of physical as well as spiritual sight, and he became a disciple of Jesus.

    First reading: Jer 31: 7-9: This reading, from the book of Jeremiah, tells us of the small number of people who had escaped the Assyrian captivity in 721 B.C. Jeremiah uses this image to describe the coming return of the Babylonian captives as they are led on their joyful journey home to Jerusalem. The passage foretells God’s promise to give His people life in all its fullness. Through their exile and suffering, the people had learned to humble themselves and turn to God with sincere repentance. The returnees included not only the healthy, but the blind, the lame, and the vulnerable. Originally, the exiled Jews were spiritually blind, but through suffering, they had received spiritual sight, and they expressed their gratitude to God by singing His glories on their way back to their city. Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem in the company of the lame and the blind connects this first reading with today’s gospel. The gospel highlights the actions of Bartimaeus which called healing from the heart of Jesus and prompted the now-seeing beggar to follow Jesus as a witnessing disciple. The first reading, on the other hand, directs our attention to God’s merciful actions: “delivering his people . . . bringing them back . . . gathering them . . . consoling them… guiding them . . . leading them.”

    The second reading (Hebrews 5: 1): The reading describes Jesus as the priest of the new covenant. It likens him to the class of ancient priests, (sympathetic and patient, not glorifying himself), then distinguishes Jesus from the others (because the Father called Jesus his Son). The people, addressed in this letter, had been put out of the synagogues when they accepted Jesus. The writer of Hebrews tries to comfort them by depicting Jesus as a superior replacement for the priests they had formerly depended upon. The Jewish high priest was a sinner like others and his role was to offer sacrifices to God and serve as a representative of the people. But Jesus was sinless and he offered himself as a sacrifice for sins and continues to act as our mediator at “the throne of grace.” Further, Jesus the Son of God was appointed directly by God to an even better priesthood (“the order of Melchizedek” Ps 110:4). In his role, person and appointment Jesus surpassed every high priest in ancient Israel. Hence through Jesus the high priest we can approach the throne of grace with confidence and boldness, and we can expect mercy and favor from God.

    Exegesis

    The context: Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem through Jericho, an ancient city, fifteen miles away from Jerusalem. Jericho was the first city conquered by the Israelites when they entered Palestine. It was a city of great wealth and remarkable beauty, supporting many date palm plantations and fig trees. Great numbers of merchants and Jewish priests made their homes in this pleasant city. The Mosaic Law required every Jewish male over the age of twelve and living within fifteen miles of Jerusalem to attend the Passover. Those who, for one reason or another, were exempt from this obligation would often line the roads to Jerusalem to greet the crowds of pilgrims as they passed toward the city. The Jewish rabbis on pilgrimage often taught religious lessons to the pilgrims on their journey. Beggars also capitalized on the increased traffic through the city to beg for money. One such beggar was the blind man known as Bartimaeus.

    Jesus spots a particular blind man in the crowd: The story of Bartimaeus is the last healing miracle recorded in the Gospel of Mark. The story is presented dramatically. While the majority of those who received healing in the New Testament are not mentioned by name, in this case the beggar’s name is given as Bartimaeus, which means son of Timaeus. When the people told Bartimaeus the news of Jesus’ passage through the city, he began to shout his remarkable statement of faith: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” Jesus was surrounded by a large crowd. Amid the noise and dust, people were jostling for attention, and beggars cried out for alms. In spite of this tumult Jesus heard one voice crying out through the noise of the crowd. Who would have expected a messianic greeting from a blind beggar? In spite of the crowd’s objections, Jesus stopped and, recognizing Bartimaeus’ faith, called the blind man to him. In the Law of Moses, the blind are among those who are to be accorded protection in the name of God. Leviticus admonishes the Israelites not to “curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind.” In Deuteronomy those who lead the blind astray along the road are placed under the same curse as those who withhold justice from the alien, the orphan or the widowed. Psalm 146 proclaims that God gives sight to the blind, lifts up those who are bowed down and loves the righteous.

    Bartimaeus’ response of trusting faith: The people conveyed Jesus’ invitation to Bartimaeus, who responded by jumping up and running to Jesus. By addressing Jesus as Son of David, the beggar publicly identified Jesus as the Messiah. At Jesus’ summons, Bartimaeus threw aside his long cloak, his only possession, which protected him from heat and cold. In throwing away his cloak, he gave up everything he had depended on, putting his complete trust in the Lord. Jesus then asked: “What do you want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus replied promptly: “Master, I want to see.” Jesus rewarded his faith by restoring both his physical and spiritual sight. Having received physical and spiritual sight, Bartimaeus followed Jesus joyfully along the road. The gift of sight led Bartimaeus to faith, and faith came to full expression in committed discipleship. He wanted to stay close to his Savior, to thank, praise, and serve Him. Thus today’s Gospel presents Bartimaeus as the model for us in his prayer and in his wholehearted commitment to a discipleship that includes rejection by those who refuse to believe.

    Lessons of Christian discipleship: The section of Mark’s gospel that deals with discipleship (8:22-10:52) begins with the healing of a blind man (8:22-26) and concludes with the story of another blind man, Bartimaeus. In between these two stories are three episodes in which the disciples are presented as blind to the meaning of Jesus’ mission and of their own discipleship. Their spiritual “blindness” is evident in their persistent misunderstanding. The gradual coming to sight of the first blind man (8:22-26) culminates in the story of Bartimaeus, who regains his vision and becomes a follower of Jesus. The healing of the blind Bartimaeus contains four main elements of Christian discipleship: a) the correct recognition of Jesus as Lord and Savior (“Jesus, Son of David”); b) the acknowledgement of the need for Jesus’ help (“Have pity on me”; “I want to see”); c) ready response to Jesus’ call (“He . . . came to Jesus”); and d) becoming Jesus’ disciple (” … followed him on the way”).

    The Messianic implications: The healing of Bartimaeus has Messianic implications. Jesus commended Bartimaeus because he had correctly understood that Jesus was the Son of David and the expected Messiah. Referring to the coming of the Messiah, Isaiah wrote: “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped” (Isaiah 35:5; 29:18, 42:7). The Church has taken the persistent prayer of Bartimaeus to heart. The prayer “Kyrie eleison” (“Lord, have mercy”) appears frequently in the liturgy. Bartimaeus’ prayer has also become the source of “the Jesus Prayer:” “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.” Its adapted form, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” has become a popular Christian prayer. The Church advises us to repeat it frequently, in acknowledgement of our sinfulness and our need for God’s mercy. Like Bartimaeus, we should recognize — even in our blind moments — the presence of Jesus. We can trust in the power of Jesus to give us new visions and to strengthen us in our weakness.

    Life messages

    1) Instead of remaining in spiritual blindness, let us pray for spiritual sight. Each one of us suffers from spiritual blindness, and hence we need the light of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us. Anger, hatred, prejudice, jealousy, evil habits etc. make us spiritually blind, preventing us from seeing the goodness in our neighbors and God’s presence in them. We are blind to a sense of justice when we refuse to pay our debts or when we collect our wages though we have not done an honest day’s work for that day’s pay, or have cheated our employer by taking time or items that belong to the company. We are blinded by greed when we are never satisfied with what we have and incur debts by buying luxury items. Hence, let us pray to have a clear vision of Christian values and priorities in our lives and to acknowledge the presence of God dwelling in ourselves and in our neighbors. A clear spiritual vision enables us to see the goodness in others, to express our appreciation for all that they have been doing for us, and to refrain from criticizing their performance.

    2) “Cry out” to Jesus, as Bartimaeus did. Like Bartimaeus, we must seek Jesus with trust in his goodness and mercy. Sometimes our fears, anger and habitual sins prevent us from approaching God in prayer. At times, we even become angry with God when He seems slow in answering our prayers. In those desperate moments, let us approach Jesus in prayer with trusting faith as Bartimaeus did and listen carefully to the voice of Jesus asking us : “What do you want me to do for you?” Let us tell Him all our heart’s intentions and needs.
    3) We need to have the courage of our convictions. We need people who, like Bartimaeus, will refuse to be silenced by the secular leaders of our society. We must make our politicians realize that our country is rejecting Christian principles and facing a loss of values. A good example of this is the heated controversy over the First Amendment to the Constitution in the U.S. The First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is a simple statement of the right of an individual to follow his own conscience in worship. Unfortunately, it is often interpreted by activist judges to mean that the expression of all religious ideas is forbidden by the government. This is a far cry from the intention of the founding fathers. James Madison (the primary author of the Constitution) said, “Religion [is] the basis and Foundation of Government…. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves… according to the Ten Commandments of God.” Even Thomas Jefferson, who coined the phrase “separation of Church and State”, wrote: “God gave us life and liberty. Thus, the liberties of a nation cannot be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God, and that they are not to be violated but without His wrath.” Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

    Additional anecdotes 3): Two famous prayers for spiritual vision: Cardinal Newman prays for clear vision in his famous poem, “Lead Kindly Light”:

    Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
    The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
    Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
    The distant scene; one step enough for me.

    John Newton’s name is unfamiliar to many. Most of us, however, know the magnificent hymn, “Amazing Grace,” written by him. As the captain of a British slave ship, he regained his faith during a storm at sea and became an ordained minister who was very active in the abolitionist movement:

    Amazing grace!
    how sweet the sound,
    that saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost but now am found,
    was blind but now I see.

    Today’s gospel, which tells of the healing of the blind man, Bartimaeus, challenges us to strengthen our faith in Jesus, the healer, and invites us to gain true spiritual vision.
    Humour of the Week

    1) Two Polish men were taking their first train trip to Warsaw on the train. A vendor came down the corridor selling bananas which they’d never seen before. Each bought a banana. The first man eagerly peeled the banana and bit into it just as the train went into a dark tunnel. When the train emerged from the tunnel, he looked across to his friend and said, “I wouldn’t eat that if I were you.”
    “Why not?” asked his friend. “Because, it makes you temporarily blind.”

    2) A motorist with poor eyesight was driving through a dense fog and was trying desperately to stay within range of the taillights of the car ahead of him. As he squinted and worried his way along, trying to stay on course with those taillights, the car in front suddenly stopped, and his car hit the car in the front. The driver of the rear car got out and demanded to know why the other driver came to such an abrupt stop. “I had to,” he replied, “I’m in my own garage!”

    Useful Website Links

    1) The Catholic Search Engine & World Wide Catholic Web Directory: http://catholic.org/newsearch/index
    2) Catholic Educator’s Resource center: http://www.catholiceducation.org/
    3) Faith First: http://www.faithfirst.com/
    4) Catholic Blogs: http://www.catholicblogs.com/sitemap.html

    SYNOPSIS OF O. T. XIX Sunday Homily on JER 31:7-9; HEB 5: 1-6; MARK 10:46-52

    Introduction

    The central theme of today’s readings is the overflowing mercy and kindness of a loving and forgiving God to His children. The first reading tells us how a forgiving and compassionate God healed the spiritual blindness of His Chosen People by subjecting them to Babylonian captivity and then liberating them and bringing them back to their homeland. The Jerusalem journey of Jesus in the company of the lame and the blind connects the first reading to today’s gospel. The healing of the blind man Bartimaeus in today’s gospel is also seen as the fulfilling of the joyful prophecy of Jeremiah about the return of the exiled Jews from Babylon to their homeland. Today’s second reading from Hebrews 5 presents Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for sins and as the only high priest of the New Testament. It also gives us the assurance that our high priest Jesus is sympathetic to us because he has shared our human nature. Today’s gospel explains how Jesus shows the same mercy and compassion of his heavenly Father by healing Bartimaeus a blind man. Just as the blind and the lame were God’s concern in the first reading, Jesus is concerned with the blind beggar, Bartimaeus of Jericho. On hearing that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, Bartimaeus loudly expressed his trusting faith in the healing power of Jesus by shouting his request “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” As Jesus invited him to come near him Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak (symbolizing perhaps the baptismal divesting). His meeting with Jesus gave Bartimaeus the gift of physical as well as spiritual sight, and he became a disciple of Jesus.

    Scripture lessons

    1) Instead of remaining in spiritual blindness, let us pray for spiritual sight. Each one of us suffers from spiritual blindness, and hence we need the light of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us. Anger, hatred, prejudice, jealousy, evil habits etc. make us spiritually blind preventing us from seeing the goodness in our neighbors and God’s presence in them. We are blinded by greed when we are never satisfied with what we have and incur debts by buying luxury items. Hence, let us pray to have a clear vision of Christian values and priorities in our lives and to acknowledge the presence of God dwelling in ourselves and in our neighbors. A clear spiritual vision enables us to see the goodness in others and to express our appreciation for all that they have been doing for us, and stop us from criticizing their performance.

    Life messages

    1) A challenge to give our lives in loving service to others. The best place to begin the process of “self-giving,” is in our own homes and in the workplace. Whatever may be our place in society — whether important or unimportant — we can serve and serve with a smile. As serving leaders we must be available, accountable, and vulnerable.

    2) 2) “Cry out” to Jesus, as Bartimaeus did. Like Bartimaeus, we must seek Jesus with trust in his goodness and mercy. Sometimes our fears, anger and habitual sins prevent us from approaching God in prayer. At times, we even become angry with God when He seems slow in answering our prayers. In those desperate moments, let us approach Jesus in prayer with trusting faith as Bartimaeus did and listen carefully to the voice of Jesus asking us : “What do you want me to do for you?” Let us tell Him all our heart’s intentions and needs.

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