“..the Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel..” a beautifully joyous 1st reading, full of healing, restoration & optimism, for one particular group of the chosen people.. the remnant..the left overs..those who stood by God & by the tribe when going got too tough for the majority..those who chose to stay, those carrying a disability of one kind or another..& those lacking the fitness to defect, to leave, to abandon ship.. ..the remnant here..all of us..each of us, disabled unfit for purpose in our discipleship.. & importantly those out there who, for all sorts of reasons or none, walked away, & now wait for our gentle invitation to come back, to come home.. “gather them from the far ends of the earth” ..home to a level playing field & the hug of a lifetime..
“..all of them..the blind & the lame..” ; Lord have mercy “..women with child..women in labour..” ; Christ have mercy “..I will comfort them as I lead them back..” [back home] ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..my IT skills I’d say are 2/20, less than basic..all goes well on my limited spectrum of use of my laptop until I press wrong key & I’m lost..screen beams out message yes/no or cancel..a decision in dark can cost me a days work..I sheepishy timidly approach our IT dept, the experts, & feel their frustration & impatience as in 2 clicks the status quo if not my pride is restored..me a present day Bartimaeus, the blind beggar..how is it not to see? or perhaps worse to have seen a spectacular sunset or looked into eyes of Christ in guise of a loved one & lost it?..lost sight lost faith..& if that wasn’t bad enough many of crowd, the sightseers, in name & in fact, scolded him & told him to keep quiet; he was put down cold shouldered, excluded..how does it feel?..however, Bartimaeus bless him was desperate to see the Jesus he’d heard a lot about, second hand, of a different teacher who spoke with conviction & practised what he preached..his a new version upgrade of gospel & Windows 7..he shouted all the louder, he wanted/needed to be heard “Son of David, have pity on me” a partial understanding of who Jesus was; notice its “Son of David”.. every man-Jew was a Son of David, & if you acknowledged his special status he’d grow 6” taller..judged 18/20 Jewish/ Roman Catholic literate at least..& “Jesus stopped” & the whole crocodile of followers stopped & Jesus instructs the sightseers “call him here” “Courage” they said “get up he is calling you” did you see hear & feel change in tone & mood?..as soon as sightseers realised Jesus was showing interest, these fickle followers turned in attitude & sight..& what energy Bartimaeus showed, threw off his cloak his protective garment, his self defensiveness he’d had to grow over all those years, jumped up keen eager & straight to the Voice..the Word made flesh..Jesus notice notices & asks him; Bartimaeus doesn’t ask Jesus..“what do you want me to do for you?” no put down chastisement nor post-mortem, whatever form of misbehaviour resulted in his blindness/ infirmity, his ignorance..“what do you want me to do for you?” & then, only then, in the clarity & fullsightedness of his words, he addresses Jesus with his full divine title..he can see spiritually..perhaps he has always been able to see fully, to see spiritually, but no one has ever asked him what he could see..you wouldn’t would you?..you wouldn’t ask a blind person to describe what it’s like to look into eyes of Jesus & feel intimacy would you?..would you?..why would they?..because he is evidently blind, to sightseers who go on evidence, desperate to see, see the proof, the grave cloths..unbelieving of a woman of ill repute who said she’d seen the Risen Christ “Rabbuni, Master, let me see again” let me see you again after all these years of poor sight/blindness of seeing outlines/shapes, of hearing murmurings/half truths “let me see again” let me see again..& Jesus said then & says to you tonight/this morning “go your faith has saved you”.. the real miracle, not a healing by word or touch, did you see/ notice?, but a healing through a relationship in faith.. ”your faith has saved you” that which kept you in touch with Jesus, a distant you & a distant him, or both?..distanced from each other for so long..politely respectfully gently, or angrily accusatively?..& now back full sighted..& having entered password into laptop as it comes to life again after so long a shutdown, the whirling little circle gives way to one word “welcome”..& immediately your sight returns & you follow him along the road & into his programme..”you are my son my daughter..today I have become your Father” ..the psalm you’ve just seen read heard & voiced..“they go out, they go out, full of tears, carrying seed for the sowing; they come back, they come back, full of song, carrying their sheaves.”.. a moment to see & celebrate the harvest in this orchard/parish..exceptional in quality this year if perhaps not in quantity..& pray what of the sightseers? seemingly now conspicuous by their absence..moved in His time, from the distance of sightseeing into the intimacy of heartseekers..”Master, let me see again”..at end of this Mass, every Mass, comes what is so inappropriately termed the rite of dismissal..in fact & faith words which authorise us, healed here & now of our own blindness, to do the same..”go, your faith has saved you.” the miracle is his faith in you..& yours in him.. [30thSunYrB Mk10;46-52]