30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Vinner)
CHRIST OUR HIGH PRIEST, PLEASE HELP US TO SEE YOUR MARVELS!
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On this thirtieth Sunday of ordinary time, the church invites us to manifest our faith and, place our hope in Christ. This is because, as our high priest and mediator, He is willing and able to open our eyes in order to see the marvels that God has worked for us.
Our first reading this Sunday is a radical articulation of hope that functions as a road map for liberation and survival. Hence, we find images of homecoming, restoration, and renewed relationships. In their weak and exiled state, the Israelites could not help themselves. This means that redemption and peace come from God. He has revealed himself through his son Jesus Christ, who in turn, reveals himself through his priests in our Christian community.
Hence, our second reading reminds us of the role of the priest who mediates for the people of God “In persona Christi.” One of the most important role of the priest as the one who acts “In persona Christi” is, to help the people encounter and see God. So, he leads and shows the way. He does this by animating the faith of the people and by sharing in their pain, and joy. This is why the second reading today tells us that: “Every high priest was chosen from among humans…so he can understand and sympathize with those who are ignorant and rejected.” He is a member of the Christian community with a great responsibility on him.
This is what St Augustine meant when he says on the anniversary of his episcopal ordination: “I am fearful of what I am for you, but I draw strength from what I am with you. For you, I am a priest, and with you, I am a Christian…Help me by your prayers and your obedience to carry out these many serious and varied duties…” (Sermon 350, 1). So, as a human being “who lives in the limitations of weakness,” the priest must pray for himself. He also needs prayers from the Christian community. He has to see in order to help the people of God see. This means that together as members of the Christian community, we all need God’s mercy, compassion, healing and liberation from the limitations of life. So confidently and constantly, we must all ask for this help from Christ our High Priest.
In today’s gospel, the blind Bartimaeus represents our collective human situation that is constantly yearning for healing and liberation from all sorts of limitations. The blindness in questions might not necessarily be the physical loss of vision, but spiritual ignorance that limits our relationship with others, and with God. Hence, today’s Gospel teaches us that to be free from this limitation, we must humbly accept it. Second, by constantly reminding ourselves that: “Our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Ps 95:8), we must humbly ask for help from Christ. So, like the blind man, in our gospel we must cry out to the Lord in faith: “Lord that I might see!” However, it important to note that blind Bartimaeus did not believe because he was cured. Rather, he was cured because he had faith in Christ who said: “Your faith has cured you.” Faith is very important in our daily walk and encounter with Jesus Christ. To see is to have a living faith in Christ our high priest.
Instead of remaining in spiritual blindness, let us pray for spiritual sight. Each one of us suffers from spiritual blindness. Hence, we need the light of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, granting us proper spiritual vision. Let us learn to recognize the causes of our spiritual blindness. Anger, hatred, prejudice, jealousy, evil habits, addictions etc. make us spiritually blind, and they prevent us from seeing the goodness in our family members, neighbors and God’s presence in them. Hence let us learn to think about and see the goodness in others without becoming unkind, critical and judgmental. We are blinded by greed when we are never satisfied with what we have and incur debts to buy luxury items. Hence, let us pray to have a clear vision of Christian values and priorities in our lives and to acknowledge the presence of God dwelling in ourselves and in our neighbors. A clear spiritual vision enables us to see the goodness in others, to express our appreciation for all that they have been doing for us, and to refrain from criticizing their performance.
We need to “cry out” to Jesus, as Bartimaeus did. Like Bartimaeus, we must seek Jesus with trusting faith in his goodness and mercy. Sometimes our fears, anger and habitual sins prevent us from approaching God in prayer. At times, we even become angry with God when He seems slow in answering our prayers. In these desperate moments, let us approach Jesus in prayer with trusting faith, as Bartimaeus did, and listen carefully to the voice of Jesus asking us: “What do you want me to do for you?” Let us tell Him all our heart’s intentions and needs.
Finally, once, I saw these words written on the front plate of a car: “If you are not tired of praying, God is not tired of listing to you.” So, the good news today is that Christ our high priest is always ready to hear and help us. He wants us to see again and be liberated from all our limitations in this life. However like the blind Bartimaeus, we must humbly call out to him: “Lord that I may see.” The blind and “poor man called and the Lord heard him” (Ps 36, 4). If we sincerely call on Christ in faith, he will also hear us because: “Whoever shall calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10, 13). So filled with hope, let us acclaim: “What marvels the Lord has worked for us! Indeed we were glad.”
May God Bless us.
FR. S.Vinner HGN