LETTER TO SINEAD AND MARK. SOUL FOOD FOR YOUNG ADULTS.
THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME: OCTOBER 28, 2012
(See Homepage for Mass Readings for this Sunday)
Dear Sinead and Mark,
Did you ever find yourselves, either of you, ‘at a dead end’,- feeling lost, wondering what direction to go in, feeling worthless and unwanted, feeling that you are missing out on life, that others all around you are having a great time while you are just stuck. You wished you could see more clearly what life is about, or what is right for you, what road to follow? Ever feel like this, at times in your lives?
Well, come and meet someone who must have felt all of the above, and more. He’s a character I love, and his name is Bar-Timaeus, or Son of Timaeus, and he lived way down in the old city of Jericho,- just near the Dead Sea, way below sea-level.
He’s blind. He’s a begger. He’s a reject. And he’s poor. He tries to make ends meet by sitting at the edge of town, hoping for something from the passers by, going into or out of the town.
A crowd is passing. Lots of people. Lots of noise. He overhears someone say that Jesus, the man from Nazareth, was passing by. He had heard of this Jesus. So Bart begins to shout out, from where he is seated on the ground, ‘Son of David! Jesus! Have pity on me!’ The bystanders tried to hush him up, ‘Be quiet!’, but he shouted even louder ‘Son of David, have pity on me!’ (Read the story for yourself in the Gospel today, Mark 10) But the next bit is the bit I love. Jesus hears the shout, over all the din, and stops. ‘Tell him to come to me!’ said the Master,- notice he didn’t go over to Bartimaeus. ‘Tell him to come to me!’
So they went over to Bart and told him that the Master wanted him. What did Bart do next? We are told that he did three things,- he threw off the old cloak that he had around him for years: he jumped up: and he went to Jesus. When he heard the call, he threw off his past, he jumped up with joy, and he went towards the One he had been ‘looking’ for
What does Jesus do? He asks Bart what he wanted him, Jesus, to do for him! As if he couldn’t see clearly that the man was blind. He wanted Bart to tell him what he was looking for. So Bart pointed to his useless eyes, and simply said to Jesus,- ‘Master, that I may see!’ ‘These eyes are not working!,- and I want to see.’ He told Jesus what he wanted from Jesus. Jesus waited for this, and then responded.
‘Your faith has healed you’ said Jesus. And Bart could see, at long last. He looked around, saw faces, saw trees, saw the hills going up to Jerusalem, saw his own hands, saw colour, and then looked and saw Jesus. Saw his eyes and face and love for him, saw his own wonderful reflection in the eyes of the Master. And that’s when his eyes were really opened.
What did he do next? We are told ‘he followed Jesus along the Way’ or along the road (the same word). That, for those early Christians, was code word for following Jesus: they were known early on as The Followers of the Way,- and Jesus had said (in John 14) “I AM THE WAY’.
There’s a short 4-line song from some years ago: ‘Reach out and touch the Lord as He goes by: / You will find He’s not too busy to hear your heart’s cry. / He is passing by this moment, your needs to supply. / Reach out and touch the Lord as He goes by.’
When you call out to him, you hear him calling out to you.
When you hear his voice calling you, you throw off the old that you have been clinging to for years.
You jump up, full of expectation and joy.
You make your way to Jesus, who is waiting for you, also full of joy.
You point out the areas of your life and heart that need fixing, healing.
He heals what you ask him to heal,- maybe over a period of being with him.
You look deeply into his face, and then you answer his quiet invite to ‘follow him along the Way’
Mark, Sinead, can you hear him calling you? If he’s passing by, are you calling him? Wonderful things begin to happen when you hear each other’s call.
I hope this is food for your soul, to feed you during the coming week. It’s certainly food for me, and ‘I’m lovin’ it!’
God bliss you and bless you! Can we be praying for each other? Thanks!
P.S. Halloween is coming up on Wednesday. The ‘hallowed e’en’ or evening, that sacred evening before the Feast of all Saints, November 1st- and that’s the feast for you and all the wonderful and kindly people of the world. Saints are just sinners in whom God is still doing his work, in this life. So, enjoy your own Feast, this Thursday. ‘The mystery you celebrate is the mystery of yourselves!’ said Augustine long ago, about the Eucharist.
And Friday is the Feast of All Souls, Nov. 2nd, – when we pray for our loved ones who have died and who may need our prayers. ‘Sure don’t they need us, and won’t we need them!’ said a very old lady to me once.