Dear readers, like the beggar Bartimaeus begging for pity in today’s Gospel, I ask you to please help keep this evangelization work alive by donating. So far a few have donated, but I have not met the goal. Time is running out.
In December, I have to pay for the renewal of this domain name, so I need your help. I also want to expand this work so it can reach even more people. Please help me meet my campaign goal by donating any amount at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus. Those who donate $100.00 will be mentioned in my book (see: http://www.sacerdotus.com/2015/09/new-book-coming-be-listed-in-it.html) as a public display of gratitude which is going to be on sale soon. The Synod on the Family has just ended and once again the Pope has stressed mercy. Today’s readings touch upon it.
In the first reading, we read of God telling the people that He has delivered them. He promises to gather them all including the blind and lame (Jeremiah 32:37, Jeremiah 23:3). These people were scattered and suffered greatly. They cried and were lost, but God says He will bring them back with consolation (Ezekial 36:24). God reminds His people that He never abandons them. He is a faithful God; a faithful Father (1 Corinthians 1:9). Even when His people sinned and turned against Him, God was there and worked wonders as we read in the Psalm.
In the responsorial Psalm, we are told that God has done great things for us. This Psalm is an expression of joy. It is reminiscent of the wonderful things God has done for His people. Joy and happiness comes from God (Psalm 126:3, Luke 1:49). Material things do not make us happy. Everything that we have and are comes from God (Acts 17:28). This should remind us to always be faithful and pleasing to God at all times. As Catholics we have Christ who intercedes to us next to His Father in heaven (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25, 1 Timothy 2:5). He pleads to the Father on our behalf so that when we are scattered by doubt, we can return rejoicing as Christ represents us before God the Father as we read in the second reading.
The second reading reminds us that priests are representatives of God. Our Catholic priests are “another Christ” (CCC 875). They do not replace Christ, but stand in His place physically speaking. Like the priests of old, they offer the sacrifice of Christ on the altar at Mass. Christ is not re-sacrifced (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 6:10, Hebrews 9:28). The sacrifice is reenacted, if you will. It is “replayed” because Christ is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus was the perfect sacrifice (Hebrews 10:14). He was the spotless lamb offered for the sins of all (1 Peter 1:19). The priesthood is not a “honor” that is given. It is not a privilege. No man has a right to be a priest. This priesthood of Christ only comes via the call from God. Christ is the real priest (Hebrews 4:14). A priest in the order of Melchizedek who offered bread and wine (Hebrews 5:10, Hebrews 6:20, Genesis 14:18). This priesthood is forever even if a priest leaves the public ministry or is removed. As a priest, Christ calls for mercy via His passion, the Divine Mercy. Priests must be merficul to others and not judge others. Instead, they must admonish the sinner and call him or her back via the sacrament of Penance. In today’s Gospel we see this mercy.
Jesus encounters Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus. This man was born blind and was a beggar. We know that blind people often develop a great sense of hearing. Bartimaeus was no different. He heard Jesus was around and not knowing exactly where began to shout out, “Jesus, son of david, have pity on me.” The people in the town told him to shut up. How many times in our own world we see the homeless treated poorly? People ignore them, tell them to shut up or write them off as drunkards and drug addicts. Humanity has not changed. Back then the people did the same. Nevertheless, the man continue to call out to Jesus and Jesus responded telling the people to call him. The man threw aside his cloak and sprang up to Christ who asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The man simply asked, “I want to see.” Jesus then tells the man, “Go, your way; your faith has saved you.” The man immediately received his sight and followed Christ. This Gospel shows us the mercy of God. The blind man not only represents a person with eye problems but the sinner (Matthew 15:14). We become blind to God when we sin (2 Peter 1:9). Nevertheless, God is still nearby and we can still sense Him one way or another (Psalm 145:18). If we call out to Him and ask for mercy, God too will tell us to come to Him. He will restore our sight, not only physically but spiritually (Luke 4:18). In response we must “throw aside our cloak” like the beggar did or set aside our old ways and follow Him on the way as Bartimaeus did and rejoice in the wonders of the Lord as the first reading and Psalm remind us (Isaiah 42:16, Mark 8:35). Priests in the Catholic Church must be merciful like Christ and be ready to welcome the “spiritually blind” in order to bring Christ’s healing to them. This is what Pope Francis has be stressing to all of us even during the Synod that has just closed. We must ask mercy from God and be merciful to others. We must try to understand where life has taken others and meet there where they are at in order to bring them back to Christ. Let us as God to have pity on us and to remove our spiritual blindness which prevents us from seeing Him and the beauty in the souls of our neighbors both family and stranger. May Jesus be praised.