Celebrate Sunday Mass - 10.24.21

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10/24/2021 (1 month ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

30th Sunday of the Year -- October 24, 2021

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO ONLINE SUNDAY MASS ON THE THIRTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. On this Sunday, we heard the wonderful account of the healing of a blind man named Bartimaeus, in the Gospel of St. Mark. (Mark 10:46-52)

In the last chapter of the Gospel of St John we read these intriguing words: 'There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.' (John 21:25) 

They underscore the importance of the stories recorded in the four Gospels. The people to whom we are introduced have been selected from among many others who encountered Jesus - for a purpose. They can put us in touch with the Lord, with ourselves, with the meaning of our own lives, and with the very purpose for our existence. 

Through prayerful reflection, they can become an invitation to ongoing conversion and a portal into a deeper encounter with the Risen Jesus Christ. As we enter the stories on the pages of the sacred text, the meaning enters into us and enlightens us. Our eyes are opened, and we begin to see all of life differently. 

St. Jose Maria Escriva once wrote: "I advised you to read the New Testament for some minutes every day, and to enter into each scene and take part in it, as one more of the characters. This is so that you incarnate the Gospel, so that it is fulfilled in your life and make others fulfill it." (Furrow #672). 

In the Gospel we heard of the healing of the Blind Man named Bartimaeus: "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. (Mark 10:46-52)

In the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation offered by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council in the Catholic Church we read some beautiful and encouraging words on how we should approach reading the Bible, "In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life." (Paragraph 21) 

The insight is a key to reading the Bible fruitfully, in a way which allows us to be read by the author and changed in the encounter. The Living Word, Jesus, speaks to us through the written word. Understanding the Bible depends upon having a living relationship with the Risen Lord Jesus, the Living Word. Everyone one of us can have that relationship through prayer. 

One of my favorite definitions of a theologian is from the early Christian Monk Evagrius of Pontus, a theologian is one who "rests his head on the chest of Christ." The image calls to mind the beloved disciple, John, depicted as doing just that in early Christian art. It speaks of the indispensable prerequisite for any fruitful study of the Bible, a relationship with the Lord in the intimacy of prayer. 

This way of encountering the Lord in His Word is cultivated through regular prayer. Theologians use a term, hermeneutic, which bears consideration here. A hermeneutic is a lens through which we view or interpret something of importance.  It allows us to interpret and appropriate our experience more deeply. Living faith opens our eyes to see life differently. 

Living faith enables us to see the hand of the Lord in every circumstance and to stay on the path in our daily lives. Over years of ministry, I have had the privilege of praying with many people struggling on many different fronts. I find myself beginning the prayer by thanking the Lord 'for the gift of living faith which opens our eyes to see all of life differently now because of who Jesus is - and who we can become in Him.' 

We are all blinded by sin. The Sacrament of Baptism was called the Sacrament of the Enlightenment in the early Church for good reason. Yet, we need to keep that light of living faith alive. The beloved disciple John instructs us in his first letter: 

"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1: 5-7) 

The same Jesus who passed by Bartimaeus is alive. The Good News is that no matter what has happened in our past, Jesus walks into the dusty streets of our lives this day. We simply need the eyes of living faith to see Him and the renewed heart to follow Him on the way. Prayer is the fuel which keeps living faith alive and keeps our eyes open to see.

Where is Jesus passing through in our own lives? He always shows up for those who have their spiritual eyes opened to see Him. How about in our workplace? How about in our relationships? How about in our families? Are we running out to meet Him? St Escriva wrote in his little book of reflections called the Furrow: 

"When darkness surrounds us and our soul is blind and restless, we have to go to the Light, like Bartimaeus. Repeat, shout, cry out ever more strongly, Domine, ut videam! - Lord, that I may see... And daylight will dawn upon you, and you will be able to enjoy the brightness He grants you." (Furrow #862)

Let us cry out with Bartimaeus, Lord That I May See. The same Jesus who opened His eyes will open the eyes of our hearts. 

May the lord bless you and your family on this Lords Day.

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation

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