THE FIRST SMILE

26 October 2003          30th Sunday Mark 10: 42-52

 

When you were born, what were the first things that you saw?  Hospital room?  Doctor and nurses?  Did the doctor say? LLook at this sick-looking lady. She is your mother.  Did you see your mother smile?  Did she look like a nice enough person?  On the way home from the hospital, did you see cars, trees, the blue sky, lots of people of various sizes and shapes?  Maybe some animals?  And when you arrived home, did you enjoy looking at the brightly colored junk that they hung on your otherwise tidy crib?

           

However not all babies have this experience. They have never once seen anybody smile.  They are born blind.  

 

GODS WORD:

 

But todays gospel tells us about a Greek fellow who couldnttt see anything.  He could see his mother, his friends, the trees, flowers or the strange animals in the zoo.  He lived in a world of darkness.

 

Mark tells us how one-day beggar got in touch with Jesus. It was to be Jesus final miracle on his way to Jerusalem to begin his Passion, Death and Resurrection.  That just goes to show you how important Mark considered this miracle.  Mark wanted the catechumens and newly baptized Christians in Rome to think of their own journey of Faith and how they at one time they couldntt see God.  They were spiritually blind.

 

The people of Jesus times so much longed to see God as it was promised in the bible:  For example in Isaiah, the prophet, promises:

 

LListen! Your watchmen raise their voices, they shout for joy together, for they

see

Yahweh face to face to faceK Isaias 52: 8.

 

 

The beggar who was blind previously had heard some good things about Jesus and how Jesus helped people who were sick.  And today he hears the noise of a big crowd.  Someone tells him: J"Jesus is leaving Jericho and heading for Jerusalem." We are going with him.  As was the custom at that time, teachers like Jesus would walk and lecture at the same time.   It was cheaper than renting a lecture hall. There was a large crowd going to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast and therefore on that day, many people were walking with Jesus. Everybody wanted to hear what Jesus said.  But most people were just curious and didntt really believe in Jesus.

 

 

Well, this guy who was blind started yelling: J"Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.  Jesus didnt have a megaphone. Jesus had a powerful voice. But because of this fellows shouting many people couldntt make out what Jesus was saying. The blind fellow was a nuisance.  The people told him: Shut your mouth!  But the man just shouted even more loudly.  One of Jesus followers was preparing to hit the man on the head with a baseball bat when Jesus said: II want to see the fellow who is shouting.  The crowd was now interested in this fellow because they wanted to see a miracle.  At the invitation of Jesus, the guy immediately stripped off his cumbersome smelly overcoat and dumped his belongings.  He rid himself of anything that would keep him from meeting Jesus. He ran toward the sound of Jesus voice. Maybe he fell down a couple of times and folks laughed.  (I dontt know this for certain.) 

 

Jesus says:W"What do you want?  That seems like a stupid question for Jesus to ask the blind man.  But Jesus wanted the man to think of the implications of being able to see.  DDid he really want to 'see God?  Once he could see, he would have to choose whether to follow Jesus to Jerusalem--aa scary proposition given the political climate.

 

The fellow knew exactly what he wanted: II  want to s'see everything.  I want to ssee you smiling at me.  I want to s'see  God. I want to ssee you so that I can follow you.

 

Jesus says: "Okay, go on your way!  Your Faith has saved you.

 

And the fellow looked around.  He immediately saw the crowds of people.  Some were handsome.  Some were ugly.  Some were fat.  Some thin.  He loved them all.  He saw trees with delicious figs ready to be picked.  He could see!  But the most important thing that he saw was Jesus.  He could see Jesus, the Son of David, his/her Savior!  He saw Jesus with the eyes of Faith. (Isn't this an interesting turn of events?  Most people in the crowd were blind and couldnt see who Jesus really was but Bartimaeus, the blind man, is the one who recognizes Jesus and even before his cure is the first disciple in Marks gospel to call Jesus: Son of David which is a nice way of saying that Jesus was his Savior.

 

And Bart doesntt go home to see his relatives.  He doesntt go back to pick up his overcoat.  Instead he decides to follow Jesus on his final trip to Jerusalem.  We know the fellowss name indicating that he is known in the early Christian community and continued to be a faithful follower of Jesus all his life.  That is why Mark knew his name was Bartimaeus.

 

 

TEACHING   Mark'ss Roman catechumens couldntt help but identify with Bartimaeus.  Originally, like Bart, they were blind.  They couldntt see God.  Then one day a friend told them about the wonderful things that Jesus could do.  And they said: I, too, would like to see Jesus.  But I am blind. There may have been obstacles: Too much work, no free time, recreations or just plain scared. But one day during the Catechumenate, he/she recognized Jesus as Savior. And then asked for the gift of Faith. His/her eyes of Faith were opened.  He/she could see the world, the people, nature and God, too-- with the eyes of Faith.  He/she was no longer blind.  Then and there the catechumen decided to follow Jesus.

 

RESPONSE:  This is a wonderful opportunity for each of us to introduce ourselves to one of the parish catechumens.   Perhaps we can ask one of the catechumens how they came to meet Jesus and what happened at that first meeting. Or perhaps our own vision has become cloudy (cataracts) and it is time to review our own journey of Faith.  It is time to dump our excess baggage and tell Jesus we want to see him more clearly as on the day we first believed.

 

FINALE:  In todays gospel there were two kinds of blind people who met Jesus: on the one hand, was Bartimaeus who knew he was blind and on the other hand, the people who were blind but didntt know it. 

 

            If you are blind, please raise your right hand.

 

            If you are blind and dont know it, raise your left hand.

 

 

HOMILETIC NOTES AND STUFF

26 October 2003   30th Sunday Mark 10: 42-52

 

ONE WORD:  Blindness

 

THEME:  This passage describes how a catechumen and each of us comes to believe (see Jesus)

 

TEXT:  LL"Listen! Your watchmen raise their voices, they shout for joy together, for they see Yahweh face to face to face, as he returns to Zion JB: Is 52: 8. p. 1227

 

DESIRED RESULT:  During the past week I couldntt help thinking about the times when I really had had an encounter with Jesus on the road I am traveling.

 

 

 

 

 

CHURCHS POINT OF VIEW

 

          FFFaith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below.  Then we shall see God fface to face, as he is. (l Cor 13:12; 1 Jn 3:2.).  Catechism of the Catholic Church, (Mission Hills: Benziger Publishing Co, 1994), #163, p. 45.

 

REFERENCES:

 

            TTo see God eye to eye (Is 52,8) is the most intense desire of the OT.  The nostalgia for paradise which permeates the Bible is first an awareness of having lost direct and intimate contact with God.  It is also a lingering hope of coming upon His face and of seeing His smile.  Xavier Leon-Dufour, ed., trans.  P. Joseph Cahill S.J.  Biblical Dictionary (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1967), p. 466.

 

 

 

Chewing, Digesting and Practicing Gods Word

26 October 2003          30th Sunday Mark 10: 42-52

 

NAME_________ Grade_____________

 

1.  Compare Marks two accounts of the healing of a Blind Man: Mark 9 22-26

    and Mark 10: 46 to 52.

 

A. __T/F Both men were blind.

B. __T/F Both men were ethnic Jews

C. __T/F Both men showed initiative in wanting to ssee Jesus.

D. __T/F Both men were completely cured immediately

E. __T/F Jesus did one of the miracles in private.

F. __T/F Jesus attributes the second cure to the Faith of Bartimaeus

      G. __T/F Both men followed Jesus on the way.

 

2.  (Optional) Describe the time in your life when you first saw Jesus through the eyes of

    Faith.

 

Answers: A=T, B=F, C=F, D=F. E=T, F=T, G=F.