Saturday, October 24, 2009

Homily for Sunday October 25, 2009

Here's the homily I gave for the vigil mass.

The readings are here:

There was once a young boy who was born legally blind. Though he could barely see, he seemed to be a normal little boy, and he himself thought nothing was the matter. He only seemed a little accident prone, constantly falling down and having to get stitches. One day a group from a blindness prevention program came and gave an eye test to all the school children. Naturally this young boy threw a fit when they covered up his one good eye and asked him to read the eye chart. They realized he was blind, took him to the optometrist, and got him glasses that very day. Marveling at all the things he'd never seen before, the boy was filled with joy. But it wasn't until he got glasses that that little boy realized that he had been blind up until that point.

Couldn't we say that in our spiritual life we are like that little boy born legally blind? Are we not convinced that we see perfectly clearly when we jump to conclusions about other people when in fact we are blind? Are we not really blind when we think we have no sins to confess or no reason to ask others for forgiveness? Aren't we really blind when we rely only on our own sense of what is good and what is evil, thinking that our consciences alone are enough to tell us what is and isn't a sin and that we don't need the wisdom and experience of the Church to help guide us? Does not our culture reflect our blindness when it reinforces the thinking that all we need is reason, at times mocking and degrading those who, by believing in God or by listening to the teachings of the Church, remind us that we need faith as well? Are we not blind when we quickly conclude that God has abandoned us or is punishing us when our prayers are not answered the way we would like? Like the young boy born legally blind do we not throw a fit when someone challenges whether we truly “see” properly or not?

Bartimaeus, the blind man Jesus cures in the gospel today, presents us with a different example. He humbly recognizes both his blindness and his need for Jesus to help him to properly see. What's more, once Bartmaeus regains his sight, he does not go off on his own, relying on his own ability to see, but he follows Jesus on the way. In other words, after regaining his sight he continues to follow Jesus as a disciple.

We can do the same thing as Bartimaeus did. We can humbly recognize that we are blind and ask Jesus to give us sight. We can admit that we don't have all the answers, that our reason on its own is limited and that we need the light of faith to help guide us in life. We can then ask God for help in seeing the sins we are not aware of, trusting that the God who loves us will reveal them to us, not to condemn us but to free us and save us from them. We can ask God to help us understand why the Church teaches what it teaches, and why at times it seems as if he does not answer our prayers. Like the boy born blind, once we begin to see, once we get our spiritual glasses from God we will begin to marvel at all the wonderful things that God does in our lives that we didn't see before, and though we may still occasionally fall down, we will have a much easier time living out holy lives as we follow Jesus as his disciples.

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