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Home : Faith/Spirituality : Columns
10/23/2012 3:52:00 PM
Lord, That We May Truly See

Mary Jo Tully
Chancellor, Archdiocese of Portland

Oct. 28, 2012
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jeremiah 31:7-9
Hebrews 5:1-6
Mark 10:46-52

We like stories of Jesus’ miracles. From the time we are children, they seem proof that he is really God and worthy of our belief. But as we mature, what we seek in the stories changes. We know that the healing stories are not simply the reversal of disabilities or a disease. The paralyzed walk, the dead awaken, the deaf hear and the blind see. But, we know there is something more.

We, like the blind man, already believe. The connections between the cures and faith are so strong in the Gospel accounts that these miracles seem more about growing in faith than removing a disability.    

Bartimaeus’ request of Jesus is different from that of James and John. He is not looking for power or high office. He does not want to be special. He wants to be like all those around him. He wants to see. In a sense, this is a choice that lies before each of us. We can look for high honors and the things that separate us from the rest of the world or we can seek to see the world with new sight—through the prism of our faith.

Whenever the story of Jesus' response to the beggar's cry for help is told, we marvel that sight was given to the blind man. Sometimes we overlook the greater need he had and the fact that Jesus, like the most sensitive people we know, used a physical means to address a spiritual need. The Lord gave Bartimaeus the gift of sight; that's true. More profoundly, he gave the beggar a faith that enabled him to follow Christ from conviction rather than from felt need.

All those who gather at this Eucharist are needy. Some of our needs are visible and apparent. Our faith impels us to respond: to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked. Our faith urges us to go beyond the apparent and to provide food for the soul and dignity for the spirit.

Throughout salvation's history, God always sought those who suffered. The book of Jeremiah proclaims the Lord's eager search for those who suffer from separation, those who were in anguish because of physical handicaps and those who need consoling

Even so, some who gather here seem to need nothing. Perhaps they are the least fortunate because they cannot simply ask to be loved and cherished. They are easy to overlook because their cries are not loud and they want more from us than we are prepared to give. We remember the words of St. Paul and recall that we are empowered to identify with others in their weakness.

We give praise on this day for the sensitivity the Lord shows to us, for the many times he sends others in his name. As we approach the altar, we promise to reach out to those in need and to accept the ministry of one another.

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