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Thursday – Eighth week – OT1
Readings: Sir 42:15-25; Mk 10:46-52.
1/ First Reading: RSV Sirach 42: 15 I will now call to mind the works of the Lord, and will declare what I have seen. By the words of the Lord His works are done. 16 The sun looks down on everything with its light, and the work of the Lord is full of his glory. 17 The Lord has not enabled his holy ones to recount all his marvelous works, which the Lord the Almighty has established that the universe may stand firm in his glory. 18 He searches out the abyss, and the hearts of men, and considers their crafty devices. For the Most High knows all that may be known, and he looks into the signs of the age. 19 He declares what has been and what is to be, and he reveals the tracks of hidden things. 20 No thought escapes him, and not one word is hidden from him. 21 He has ordained the splendors of his wisdom, and he is from everlasting and to everlasting. Nothing can be added or taken away, and he needs no one to be his counselor. 22 How greatly to be desired are all his works, and how sparkling they are to see! 23 All these things live and remain forever for every need, and are all obedient. 24 All things are twofold, one opposite the other, and he has made nothing incomplete. 25 One confirms the good things of the other, and who can have enough of beholding his glory?
2/ Gospel: NAU Mark 10:46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar namedBartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50 Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I wantto regain my sight!” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and beganfollowing Him on the road.
I. THEME: The value of our eyes
In the five senses of a human being, eye is the most important sense because they provide for the human intellect visual images to reason. Eyes are used to see and to read. People can use their eyes to see God’s wonderful creation or to read what others wrote about Him. The pair of eyes are always in parallel with human reason. People can reason to know about God’s existence through seeing and reading.
Today readings concentrate on the importance of human eyes. In the first reading, the author of the Book of Sirach used his eyes to carefully look at God’s wonderful creation and his mind to contemplate God’s providence before he recounts what God has done for the future generations to know. In the Gospel, the blind man from Jericho, Bartimaeus, certainly felt the pain of being blinded; when he knew that Jesus shall pass over, he decides to shout out without restraint so Jesus could hear his voice and heal him. Jesus did hear his voice and restored his sight.
1/ Reading I: I shall recount what I has seen.
The author of Sirach wants to tell future generations two wonderful things from God:
1.1/ God’s wonderful creation: Many authors of Scripture condemned people when they have their eyes and still deny God’s existence, such as the authors of Psalms, Isaiah and Job. St. Paul also condemned this kind of people as follows: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom 1:18-22). The author of Sirach expresses a similar faith, “I will now call to mind the works of the Lord, and will declare what I have seen. By the words of the Lord His works are done.”
1.2/ God’s skillful providence: God wonderfully created the universe, his providence for all creation is even more wonderful. The author listed out some of his observations as following:
(1) God knows all things that happen in the universe, even the thought which is deeply hidden in human mind as the author writes, “He searches out the abyss, and the hearts of men, and considers their crafty devices. For the Most High knows all that may be known, and he looks into the signs of the age… No thought escapes him, and not one word is hidden from him.”
(2) God knows not only presence but also fathoms past and future: “He declares what has been and what is to be, and he reveals the tracks of hidden things.” To Him, all past and future are in presence.
(3) God wisely controls everything: In His procidence, He doesn’t need to change anything, nor anyone to be His counsellors. He controls everything that happen in the universe: both what people can see and understand and also what people can’t understand. Everything obeys His control. The author gave us two examples about God’s wise providence: First, He creates all living things in pair to protect their procreation, to compensate each other and to provide joy for each other. Secondly, it is the harmony of all things in the universe, “One confirms the good things of the other, and who can have enough of beholding His glory?”
2/ Gospel: “Rabboni, I wantto regain my sight!”
2.1/ The unforsaken faith of Bartimaeus: Markan report let us know his three virtues:
(1) He clearly knows what he needs: To be blinded is to live in darkness; the world is all black to him; wherever he goes, he must be helped by others. There is nothing that is painful than to be blinded. Due to blindness, he can’t earn a living for himself, he must beg others to support his life and be despised by many.
The physical blindness leads to intellectual and spiritual blindness; the latter are more painful because one must constantly live in falsity. The spiritual blindness can only be taken away by God’s truth; only God can take away the spiritual blindness by His spiritual light. Jesus revealed this for people by saying: “I am the light of the world. I am the way, the truth and the light.” There is nothing more painful than the one who doesn’t know the truth in his life, especially the truth about the ultimate goal of his life. Bartimaeus knows that his eyes need to be opened and seen; therefore when Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said without hesitance, “Rabboni, I wantto regain my sight!”
(2) He knows who can heal him: Bartimaeus is blind, not deaf; he heard what people talked about Jesus. Through hearing, he knows only Jesus can heal him from blindness. When the opportunity to meet Jesus comes, he determines not to be passed over.
(3) He overcame all obstacles: When Jesus passes over, Bartimaeus calls him twice, the second time is louder than the first, even though he is rebuked by the crowd. When he heard that Jesus calls him, he throws out his coat, leaves behind all of his belongings, stands up and runs toward Jesus without fearing of falling to the ground.
The ones who are spiritual blind must act the same as Bartimaeus. They shouldn’t skip an opportunity to learn about God because they never know that when the opportunity passes, they shall have no second chance to learn about God.
(4) He is the one who recognizes God’s blessing and praises God: After being healed, he didn’t walk out as the other nine lepers. He joyfully followed Jesus. He might want to talk about God’s love for him for everyone to know.
2.2/ Jesus’ compassion: God never denies those who firmly believes in Him. Jesus let the blind to regain his light because he sees his thirst for light and his faith. Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I wantto regain my sight!”And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and beganfollowing Him on the road.
God certainly doesn’t let those who want to learn about Him to be despaired. He let everyone have many opportunities to learn about Him and Christ, through the sending of preachers to preach the Good News and the sending of the Holy Spirit to work inside human mind and heart. Whoever sincerely looks for Him, that person shall meet God.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Our eyes are the window to our soul. We should use them to recognize God’s wonderful works and to believe in Him.
– Physical blindness is painful, spiritual blindness is the most painful. We shouldn’t see God’s creation and providence indifferently; but carefully meditate them to recognize God’s love for us and to return with our sincere love.