Sunday, 28 October 2018

Hope and Blindness, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Mk 10:46-52; Ps 125:3; Jer 31:7-9
Today I’d like to draw your attention to the title the blind man used to call out to the Lord.
He didn't just say, “Jesus”, or “Lord”, or even use the description St Mark’s Gospel gave Him, “Jesus of Nazareth”.
Instead, he called out to Him saying, “Son of David”(Mk 10:47;48). In fact, he used this title twice in close succession when he was addressing the Lord.

To a blind Jew this would have been very significant:
The “Son of David” was a title referring to the expected Messiah.
Of course, ALL the Jews we waiting for the Messiah,
BUT, He was to have a special significance for the BLIND. As we heard in our first reading, which was one of many such prophecies of the Messiah, when the Messiah would come He would be distinguished by His capacity to give sight back to the blind. Other prophets had worked other miracles, but this miracle was to be one of THE signs of the Messiah.

Now, let us pause a moment and think what this tells us about this blind man.
This blind man suffered.
He was a beggar.
And, to be a blind beggar in a poor country is a harsh thing.
But, THE point I wish to draw your attention to today is that this blind man somehow kept his FAITH and kept his HOPE.
He didn't curse his darkness, he didn't inwardly close in on himself in bitterness and anger –the way we all know it is very easy to do. Instead, he kept faith and hope, and the SIGN of this is that he was still WAITING and HOPING for the Messiah, and called to Him by His title, “Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me”.

The Scripture readings that the Church has given us today point us to two pivotal things that this blind man must have held on to:
First, the PROMISE from the Lord God that He would send His Messiah, send Him with healing.
This enabled the blind man to look FORWARD with hope.
Our first reading from Jeremiah records one of many such Old Testament promises that remind us of this.
Second, the MEMORY of what God had done the PAST.
If we remember the wonders the Lord has done in the past, then the past is able to anchor our faith. Our being rooted in the past thus enables us to fix our eyes on the future, it enables our faith to give us hope.
Our responsorial psalm reminded us of this with the antiphon, “What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad.”(Ps 125:3).

To summarise: the title “Son of David” that the blind man used for Jesus showed he remembered that a promise had been made that a Messiah, the “Son of David” would come.
The blind man thus serves as a role model for all of us:
We all have difficulties, the way that blind man had difficulties.
But, if we kept our memories secure in recalling the Lord’s past deeds then we will have hope.
We do this by recalling our personal histories, the good things the Lord has done for us.
We do this also, more fundamentally, by recalling the good things the Lord has done in the pages of Sacred Scripture.
He has shown He is a good God.
He has shown He keeps His promises.
And a great many of those He promises still hold for you and me. The promise of heaven if we are faithful. The promise of grace to sustain us on the way. The promise that He is by our side, “I am with you always”(Mt 28:20). And much more.

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