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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday 33rd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (1Macc 1:10-15.41-43.54-57.62-64): [From the descendants of Alexander's officers] there sprang a sinful offshoot, Antiochus Epiphanes, son of King Antiochus, once a hostage at Rome. He became king in the year one hundred and thirty seven of the kingdom of the Greeks. In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and they seduced many people, saying: «Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us». The proposal was agreeable; some from among the people promptly went to the king, and he authorized them to introduce the way of living of the Gentiles. Thereupon they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem according to the Gentile custom. They covered over the mark of their circumcision and abandoned the holy covenant; they allied themselves with the Gentiles and sold themselves to wrongdoing.

Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, each abandoning his particular customs. All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king, and many children of Israel were in favor of his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath.

On the fifteenth day of the month Chislev, in the year one hundred and forty-five, the king erected the horrible abomination upon the altar of burnt offerings and in the surrounding cities of Judah they built pagan altars. They also burned incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets. Any scrolls of the law which they found they tore up and burnt. Whoever was found with a scroll of the covenant, and whoever observed the law, was condemned to death by royal decree. But many in Israel were determined and resolved in their hearts not to eat anything unclean; they preferred to die rather than to be defiled with unclean food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. Terrible affliction was upon Israel.
Responsorial Psalm: 118
R/. Give me life, o Lord, and I will do your commands.
Indignation seizes me because of the wicked who forsake your law.

Though the snares of the wicked are twined about me, your law I have not forgotten.

Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may keep your precepts.

I am attacked by malicious persecutors who are far from your law.

Far from sinners is salvation, because they seek not your statutes.

I beheld the apostates with loathing, because they kept not to your promise.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 8:12): Alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 18,35-43): When Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road, begging. As he heard the crowd passing by, he inquired what it was, and they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was going by. Then he cried out, «Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!». The people in front scolded him, «Be quiet!», but he cried out all the more, «Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!». Jesus stopped and ordered the blind man to be brought to him, and when he came near, He asked him, «What do you want me to do for you?». And the man said, «Lord, that I may see!». Jesus said, «Receive your sight, your faith has saved you». At once the blind man was able to see, and he followed Jesus, giving praise to God. And all the people who were there also praised God.

«Your faith has saved you»

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench (Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the blind beggar Bartimaeus (cf. Mk 10:46) gives us a complete lesson about faith, expressed with total simplicity in front of Christ. It would be good for us to repeat, every now and then, Bartimaeus' prayer: «Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!» (Lk 18:37). It is so profitable for our soul to feel destitute! Because we certainly are so though, unfortunately, very seldom are we willing to admit it. And..., consequently, we make fools of ourselves. It is for that reason St. Paul reproaches us, when he says: «For who makes you different? And what do you have that you didn't receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?» (1Cor 4:7).

Bartimaeus is not ashamed of feeling like that. Quite often, our society, the culture of the “politically correct”, will try to shut us up: with Bartimaeus they were not able to. He did not shrink back. Despite «people (…) scolded him, ‘Be quiet!’, he cried out all the more, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’» (Lk 18:39). What a wonderful thing! We feel like saying: —Thank you, Bartimaeus, for this example.

And it does pay to do like him, because Jesus does listen. He always listens!, no matter how much noise some may make around us. Bartimaeus' simple but complete trust —uncomplicated— disarmed Jesus and got to his heart: «and ordered the blind man to be brought to him, [and] (...) He asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’» (Lk 18:40-41). Before so much faith, Jesus does not waste his time! And... neither does Bartimaeus: «Lord, that I may see!» (Lk 18:41). And, no sooner said than done: «Receive your sight, your faith has saved you» (Lk 18:42). Because, if «our faith is solid as a rock, it will also defend our home» (St. Ambrose), that is, it will overcome everything.

He is everything, He gives us everything. What else can we, then, do in his presence but give him a reply of faith? And this “reply of faith” is equivalent to “let him find us”, this God that —because of his affection for the Father— is looking for us from the very beginning. God does not impose himself against our power of choice, but often enough He comes by close enough: let us, then, learn Bartimaeus' lesson and... let us not miss him!

Monsignor José Angel Saiz Meneses (until now Bishop of Terrassa) was the first bishop who agreed to collaborate with evangeli.net. He has just been promoted as Archbishop of Seville. The comment for next Sunday ("Good Shepherd Sunday") was written precisely by Monsignor Saiz.

You can read his commentary here