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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Thursday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (1Pt 2:2-5, 9-12): Beloved: Like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good. Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as aliens and sojourners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul. Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that if they speak of you as evildoers, they may observe your good works and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Responsorial Psalm: 99
R/. Come with joy into the presence of the Lord
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song.

Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; Give thanks to him; bless his name.

The LORD is good: his kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 8:12): Alleluia, alleluia. I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel text (Mk 10:46-52): As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”

P. Ramón LOYOLA Paternina LC (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Christ comes out to meet us. We are all just like Bartimaeus: the blind beggar, whose side Jesus passed by, and who continued to call out until the Lord stopped and called him. We may have a more advantaged name... but our human weaknesses (moral) resemble the beggar's blindness. We cannot see either that Christ lives amongst our brothers and, thus, we treat them as we do. Perhaps, we fail to see in the social injustices, in the structures of sin, what through our eyes, is a scathing call for social commitment. Perhaps we do not fully grasp that “there is more joy in giving than in receiving”, that “no one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). What is clear looks blurry to us: that the mirrors of the world lead to frustration, and that the paradoxes of the Gospel, after their hardships, bear fruits, fulfillment and life. We truly are visually weak, and this is not an euphemism, but a true fact: our will, weakened by sin, dims the truth in our intelligence making us pick out what is not suitable for us.

Solution: start calling out, like the beggar, that is, humbly pray “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” (Mk 10:48). And shout all the louder the more they scold you, the more they discourage you, the more you get dispirited: “And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more” (Mk 10:48). To call is also to beg: “Master, I want to see.” (Mk 10:51). Solution: to grow in our faith and beyond our certitude, trust in who loved us, created us and came to redeem us and remain amongst us in the Eucharist.

Saint John Paul II said the very same with the example of his life: his long hours of meditation —so many that his secretary complained that he prayed “too much”— tell us clearly that “he who pray changes History.”

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Whatever else he did to restore bodies to health, he didn't do it to make them everlasting, even though at the end he is going to give the body too everlasting health and salvation. By these temporal benefits that were seen he was building up faith in the things that were not seen.” (Saint Augustine)

  • “Faith is a journey of illumination: it starts with the humility of recognizing oneself as needy of salvation and arrives at the personal encounter with Christ, who calls one to follow him on the way of love.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “This simple invocation (…) ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners’ (…) combines the Christological hymn of Philippians 2:6-11 with the cry of the publican and the blind men begging for light. By it the heart is opened to human wretchedness and the Savior's mercy.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 2667)