8th Week, Ordinary Time, Thursday, May 27
Ecclesiasticus 42:15-25 / Mark 10:46-52
How wonderful is God's work: It fills the earth.
At the age of 44, Carlo Caretto felt a call to leave everything, go into the desert in Arabia, and become a member of the Little Brothers of Jesus.In his book Letters from the Desert he describes the lovely nights he found there. "How dear they were to me, those stars; how close to them the desert had brought me. Through spending my nights in the open, I had come to know them by their names, then to study them. Now I could distinguish their color, their size, their position, their beauty. I knew my way around them, and from them I could calculate the time without a watch."
How deep is our own appreciation of the beauty of God's creation? "I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting system through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only tune in." George Washington Carver
"The wisdom of God in creation and history" is the title of the last nine chapters of Sirach. Today we read about God's glory in nature. "Al/ creation obeys his will". God created the law of nature. Nature follows its law. Obeying the law, nature praises God. God has not granted to the holy ones, the angels, to tell of all his marvels. Even the angels are not able to praise God as they ought to. No created being can understand God perfectly. Not even nature can a created mind understand fully. The marvels of the sun, the depth of the sea, the secrets of a human heart, man will search to know but can never discover. God knows it all. He has made them. He knows the past and the future; no spoken word, no secret thought is hidden from him. mat appears to us as dialectical contradictions, is actually only God's design of one law complementing the other.
Ben Sirach invites us to see the works of God with eyes of faith and to admire them. In this way, we share a bit in the view of God himself, who knows and sees everything, even what goes on in the deepest of our hearts. Seeing with faith is sharing in the wisdom of God.
Jesus cures a blind man. Not only is his eyesight restored, but he also begins to see with faith who Jesus is. Note that the crowd first try to silence him but his faith is unstoppable and cannot be silenced.
Jesus travelled with his disciples in the caravan of the pilgrims. They came to Jericho, the last town in the Jordan valley. From there it is only 28 kilometres to Jerusalem but 1000 metres difference in height, a steep road. When the blind beggar, Bartimaeus heard it was Jesus, nothing and nobody could stop him shouting: "Son of David, have pity on me". That the Messiah will be the son of David was all he knew about Jesus. His theology was deficient, but his faith was adequate. Your faith has saved you, Jesus said. When people told him Jesus was calling him, he left his cloak and went immediately to Jesus. What cured him?, His need made him go to Jesus, his gratitude made him join Jesus, his loyalty made him proclaim Jesus as he went with him.
Once a man asked God: Why is it You don't fulfil my wishes, since You are everywhere? God replied: I am like Wifi, my child. I am available everywhere, but you need to connect with me with a correct password. And the password is – FAITH. Yes, passwords are needed to get into secured networks; unsecured networks, ie. those that do not require passwords are rather risky to get connected to. So as much as God is everywhere and always available, we also need faith to be connected to Him.
In the gospel, the blind beggar Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was passing by, called out to Him, was scolded and told to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder. Finally, he caught the attention of Jesus and got his request answered. But there was something significant that Jesus said to Bartimaeus: Go, your faith has saved you.
Although Bartimaeus was initially blind, he could sense who Jesus is, he persisted in calling out to Him, he persevered despite the obstacles, and he finally got what he asked for. In one word, we can say that it was faith that connected him to Jesus, and with faith Bartimaeus followed Jesus. May we have the eyes of faith to see where Jesus is, what He wants of us, and to follow Him with perseverance and persistence.
Our living God, you are very near to us in our joys and pains. Give us eyes of faith and love to see the mission you have given us in life and the grace and courage to carry it out. Make us also clear-sighted enough to see the needs of people who cry out their misery or suffer in silence, that we may bring them your healing compassion and lead them to you. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen