HOMILY FOR THE 30TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B
THEME: THAT I MAY SEE
BY: Fr. Gerald M. Musa
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY OCTOBER 24 2021
Jeremiah 31:7-9; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52.
We all love to look at things and we like to be eye witnesses. However, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see” says the philosopher Henry David Thoreau. The prophet Jeremiah calls on the remnant of Israel, the faithful, vulnerable minority (including the blind, lame, nursing, and pregnant mothers) who returned from captivity (exile) to open their eyes and they will see a deliverer. He was not just referring to their physical eyes but to their third or spiritual eyes. The prophet spoke as a certain religious teacher who advised his disciples to close both eyes to see with the other eye. In history, Helen Keller who was the first deaf-blind person to earn a degree. She later became a lecturer and activist. She published 12 books in her lifetime. Helen Keller once asked a question: “What would be worse than being born blind? To have sight without vision.”
God knew how weak the eyes of his people were and he was aware that they are likely to stumble because of their poor spiritual sight. Therefore, he sent them a saviour, a physical guide in the person of Jesus who would deliver them from spiritual downfall. He did not send an angel, but a human person who can be patient with the ignorant and the erring. The Letter to the Hebrews perfectly describes the characteristics of the coming saviour as someone who will deal with the ignorant and wayward since he is beset with weakness (Hebrews 5:2). This explains why vulnerable people and public sinners were attracted to him. For example, the Blind Man Bartimaeus waited for the right opportunity to approach Jesus and when that opportunity came, he was on top of his voice asking Jesus to have mercy on him. He was physically blind but he had the eyes of faith to identify and acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, Son of David. Jesus must have been amazed by such faith that he turned round to see who it was that was shouting after him. Jesus politely asked: “What do you want me to do for you?” Without mincing words, the blind man responded: “That I may see.” He was very precise about his one most important need. The blind man’s prayer was indeed humble.
Do we also suffer from any form of blindness? There are two kinds of blindness: literal blindness and figurative blindness. Literal blindness in this case refers to physical blindness in the ordinary sense of the word; figurative blindness refers to other forms of blindness such as spiritual, moral, or intellectual blindness. Spiritual blindness is what the Prophet Isaiah refers to when he says people are “ever seeing, but never perceiving” (Isaiah 6:9). Paul speaks about intellectual blindness when he says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” 2 Corinthians 4:4. The Evangelist John speaks of emotional blindness, the inability to love or be sensitive to the feelings of other people when he states: “But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” (1 John 2:11). Moral blindness is when we are unable to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong. Catholic Catechism states that conscience can be blinded by an evil habit (no.1791). Our conscience has to be trained to see the ways of God.
Let us pray earnestly that God will open our eyes to enable us to see his hands at work in our lives; to open our eyes to see his mercy, grace, goodness; that he may open our eyes to distinguish between the things that are important from those that are not and between good and evil; to open our eyes to see the needs of other people; to open our eyes to see our blind spots; to open our eyes to see and recognize the truth; to open our eyes to see what we ought to do; to open our eyes to see light at the dark end of the tunnel.