Bartimaeus’ faith and Jesus’ question: “What do you want me to do for you?”

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: October 25, 2009
Jer 31:7-9; Ps 126:1-6; Heb 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52

Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” This statement by Jesus to the blind beggar Bartimaeus is powerful; and it is a statement that we, in our culture, are in great danger of seriously misunderstanding. “Your faith has saved you.” What do we think of when we hear Jesus say those words? Do we hear George Michael singing 20 years ago, “Faithuh faithuh faithuh!”? Or, much worse, do we hear the 1940 movie Pinocchio, where for the first time Jiminy Cricket sang, “When you wish upon a star / Makes no difference who you are / Anything your heart desires / Will come to you“? Those words from the little cricket capture the error of our culture, which is likely to seriously mislead us about Jesus and what he is telling us, if we are not careful. So let us take a closer look at just what Bartimaeus’ faith was, which Jesus commended. (more…)

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Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jesus gives us the gift we really need

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Oct. 17-18, 2009
Isa 53:10-11; Ps 33:4-5, 18-20, 22; Heb 4:14-16; Mark 10:35-45

This is an important weekend, this third weekend of October. That is because there are just three weeks to go until our annual parish Christmas Bazaar! In fact, when Wendy and I were plotting out the publicity for the Bazaar last month, we looked at this point with three weeks to go and said: We’ll need to be making a final push then for donations and volunteers; and also beginning to encourage everyone to come to the Bazaar and to bring their friends. And of course we’ll use flyers and signs and announcements—but we need something more creative. After all, the Bazaar is an event of cosmic importance. So let’s—change the weather. That weekend, to get everyone’s thoughts on Christmas, we’ll make it as cold as December for about five days—cold outside, cold inside the buildings—and snow flurries. Whoops, sorry about the snow. I guess we missed our target by a few degrees, and so we got drizzle instead! (more…)

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 7:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What God has joined together, man must not separate

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: October 4, 2009
Gen 2:18-24; Ps 128:1-6; Heb 2:9-11; Mark 10:2-16

In my last semester in the seminary, we were told that there was something that we should expect on the first day that we arrived at our new parish assignment. They said, after we were ordained, and arrived at the new parish, and our pastor showed us to our desk, we should expect to find three or more file folders already sitting on it: three or more couples that we were to begin preparing for marriage. And so, they told us, we needed to have our marriage preparation plan in hand, ready to go, when we walked in that first day.

And they explained to us that those 6 months of marriage preparation is getting more and more important. When a couple walks in today, they have had 25 or 30 years to absorb our culture’s ideas about marriage, which are getting more and more off-track. (more…)

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 7:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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