FR ADRIAN'S HOMILY
Homily delivered on the Feast of St Joseph for Gayndah community.
Year B 2021
“I give sight to the blind, wholeness to the lame, joy to the poor”
Bartimaeus needed no encouragement to shout out to Jesus. We don’t know the details, but he had lost his sight. Without the ability to see, he could no longer work as he used to. He survived now by roadside begging.
News of Jesus and his ability to heal had come, undoubtedly, from hearing travellers passing by. Often, their conversation was about this healer-preacher from Nazareth.
Those in the entourage with Jesus scolded Bartimaeus and told him to be silent. Minders and entourage members betray a smug mentality when it comes to others seeking the attention of the personage with whom they are travelling. These people bask in the glow of being a groupie forgetting that Jesus has a reputation because of his attention to ones just like Bartimaeus. Their word to Bartimaeus to have courage is grandstanding. Bartimaeus had courage in plenty. He knew what he wanted and no one was going to take away this opportunity for healing. We who know the story, know that Jesus will not be in Jericho again. He will be killed in Jerusalem.
Two Sundays ago we heard God’s word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). That word summons us to discernment and it brings light to that process.
Pope Francis preached at the opening of the Synod on Synodality on that Sunday (10 October 2021 – find it online). The Holy Father said the Word guides the Synod, preventing it from becoming a Church convention, a study group or a political gathering, a parliament, but rather a grace-filled event, a process of healing guided by the Spirit. In these days, Jesus calls us, as he did the rich man in the Gospel, to empty ourselves, to free ourselves from all that is worldly, including our inward-looking and outworn pastoral models; and to ask ourselves what it is that God wants to say to us in this time. And the direction in which he wants to lead us.
Jesus, as the Word with our flesh on, asks Bartimaeus what he wants. Jesus never presumes to know. He wants those whom he brings alive through healing or deliverance or acceptance to know what God’s grace, brought alive by the faith the person has in God’s goodness to recognise the specific grace they have received.
Sitting with Bartimaeus by the roadside, what are we learning today about ourselves? Bartimaeus could not see, so he asked for sight. What about us? What are we pinned down by: bitterness, grudge carrying, poor-me-ism, jealousy and envy, gossip, bullying? Our Lord wants us to know ourselves, not to put ourselves down, but to target what we want Jesus to do for us.
Our desire for coming more alive will prompt us to make a fuss, to shout to our Lord to get his attention. When we have that attention, answered His question to us, received what our faith empowers us to make our own, then we joyfully head down the road with him.
Our Plenary Council journey in Australia has taken another step with the Assembly. Our world-wide Synod journey with Pope Francis begins. Our day-to-day journey continues. Bartimaeus, no longer hindered by blindness, jumps up and joyfully follows the Lord. Let’s go with him with the same outlook.
Grace and peace
PS Fr Dom left us on Monday. Hopefully, by now he has arrived home to the delight of his family and his bishop. We shall keep you posted.