Homily – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Physics was one of my favourite subjects in high school.  I always loved and spent so many hours with that subject.  One day, there was a religious sister who asked whether I could help to tutor a group of Year 12 students with their final physics exam.  I spent two hours a week teaching physics to a group of orphaned students who were born blind.  Every single time after the teaching hours, I was so impressed with their capacities and intelligence.  Many physics formulas are so complicated that they require the use of a calculator and papers to find solutions, but those blind students used their brains and imaginations to sort out the solutions.  I was not sure who taught who with physics.  Sometimes, I asked them a very general question: “What would you like to do or to become in the future?”  And received with a heartbroken response: “We want to see the sunrise…”

Going back to today’s gospel, it tells us that Jesus had just left the city of Jericho accompanied by his disciples.  Many other people also followed him.  St Mark explains what happened when Jesus met a blind man named Bartimaeus.  The blind man was sitting by the side of the road, as he usually did, asking for some donations.  Something made him realise that a large group of people were coming closer to him.  Or, maybe, someone told him that Jesus was near.  Without thinking twice, he began to cry out desperately, “Jesus, have mercy on me.”

When they heard him, many of those who were there scolded him, telling him to stop shouting.  But he did not pay attention to them as he continued to cry out.  Normally, Bartimaeus because he was blind, trusted in the counsel of those people who helped him.  But on this occasion, he felt that he needed to get Jesus to help him and so ignoring those around him, he placed all of his hope in the one person that he thought could heal him.  And it worked.  Jesus, upon hearing the cries of Bartimaeus, stopped and said, “Bring him to me.”

Even though his blindness usually made him wait for the help of others when he heard someone say, “Get up, he is calling you,” Bartimaeus did not wait for anyone to help him.  He jumped up and approached Jesus, who asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Bartimaeus asked Jesus for what he most desired, “Master, let me see again.”  And the Lord cured him.  It was his faith that most impressed the Lord.  That is why he said, “Go, your faith has cured you.”

Bartimaeus, sitting at the side of the road hopelessly waiting to recover his sight, found the road, the way, the truth and the life.  He found Jesus and when he felt the Lord’s presence and heard the Lord speak, he raised his voice and shouted so that the Lord could hear him.  He did not ask the Lord immediately to cure his blindness, he simply said, “Lord, have mercy on me.”  He placed all of his hope in the Master who was passing by and of whom he had heard speak.  He had faith in Jesus and in his mercy.  He did not have faith because he was cured; he was cured because he had faith.  And when Jesus cured Bartimaeus, who had been blind since birth, he recognised that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah.  He felt great peace of heart and soul and he followed Jesus.

Can we also feel that peace within our hearts?  Let us follow the example of Bartimaeus.  Let us go to the Lord with faith and ask him to help us, to have mercy on us, to open our eyes and our hearts so that we can see his splendour and feel his love and his peace.

By Fr Trac





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