30th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (2021): Hb 5:1-6; Mk 10:46-52

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Homily Notes for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B (2021): Hb 5:1-6; Mk 10:46-52

·  Many people, when they encountered Jesus of Nazareth, asked to be healed. Many rightly continue to make the same request. But the request of Bartimaeus was unique in that he initially did not ask Jesus to heal his blindness, even though that was the deepest desire of his heart, that he might see.

·  He first and foremost asked Jesus, calling him by the Messianic title of Son of David, to show him mercy. In doing so, he offers each of us a timeless lesson in how rightly to approach our Great High Priest and Lord, Jesus Christ.

·  Remember friends what mercy is. Deriving from the Latin word Misericordia, which means the suffering or misery of the heart, to show mercy is to see suffering, misery and affliction in another and to seek to alleviate it. To be merciful is thus twofold, to observe where misery is occurring in the life of another or a community and seeing it present that action is taken to attempt to alleviate it.

·  Bartimaeus was given an inner prompting to ask Jesus for mercy, by first asking the Lord to see the misery of his life, not stating how exactly Jesus should remedy his affliction, but not letting the opportunity pass by for him to shout and be heard, even when told to be silent and mind his own business; for when Jesus of Nazareth passes by you must bear your heart to Him, lest you miss what could be a once and lifetime opportunity to have the Son of God and Son of David listen to your cry as you reveal the deepest miseries of your life.

·  Our Lord responds as one who is merciful: Call Him Here. Jesus does not remain indifferent to Bartimaeus, passing him off as just one more request among many.

·  Jesus could simply have waved his hand and healed his blindness, for He knew what Bartimaeus desired. But instead, He wanted this blind man to enter his presence, to be close to Him and to his request “what do you want me to do for you?”. What an opportunity! Bartimaeus is given permission to tell Jesus what he most desires: to see the glory of creation once again, to see another human face, to be made well, to see the face of God in the flesh.

·  And then Jesus does what a merciful one should rightly do: He offers what He can to alleviate the suffering of the one who asked for mercy. Jesus can restore the sight of a blind man as He is the Son of God, but this should not lead us to think that mercy is only manifested in extraordinary actions since Jesus said it is also found in acts like giving a cup of water His name.

·  With his sight restored, Bartimaeus reveals what fruits can be born of having experienced mercy:  that this act of being loved and set free from misery allows one to seize the invitation to be a disciple. Now many who were healed by Jesus simply rejoiced that they were healed but did not follow Christ: remember the lepers who were cured but did not return to thank Jesus or become his disciples.

·  The Lord does not heal to be thanked or praised or prove He is God, He shows mercy because He is a Tremendous Lover, but when one comes to follow Christ after having known His mercy, it in turn equips them to share with others about how God entered their lives and transformed it.

·  It is probable that we will not experience God’s mercy in such a radical way as Bartimaeus did. But we would be remiss to say that we have not known the mercy of God and the mercy of others.

·  The Eucharist we participate in is always a feast of mercy if we choose to bring with us the afflictions and miseries we face and present them to God, spiritually placing them on the altar and asking that the Lord might alleviate that which most afflicts us.

·  As the eternal high priest, according to the order of Melchizedek, Jesus knew the Eucharist, along with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, was the most profound way to perpetually and daily bring mercy into the world.

·  Long ago, Melchizedek, the priest king of Salem (meaning city of peace which would eventually become the city of Jerusalem), offered a simple thanksgiving sacrifice of bread and wine on behalf of Abraham for a military victory that the great patriarch achieved.

·  That simple offering began a special way to pray, offering in thanks humble things like Bread and Wine, that Jesus too would offer to alleviate the miseries of sin by transforming these means into His very Body and Blood.

·  Each and every Mass is an opportunity to ask Jesus to show us mercy, that we might in turn, nourished by the Bread of Life, show mercy in return for the gift we have received.