Sunday, October 25, 2015

Homily 10-25-15

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He shouted even louder, “I want to see!”
Mark 10:51

I love this man named Bartimeus! He is a man who knows what he wants and is willing to jump any hurdles in his way to get at it! No wimpishly sitting back and wishing and waiting and whining for what he needs, he is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he needs! No hoping to be noticed! He makes sure he is noticed! Nobody’s “sit down and shut up” is going to stop him! For him it’s “jump up, shout and be sure you’re heard.” His motto might just be Carpe Diem! Seize the day! Grab the moment! He is tired of being blind. He desperately wants to see! He has a burning faith in Jesus and he will not be held back either by his own reluctance or the obstacles others throw in front of him!

It is important to notice the words of Jesus here! These same words are often used in the miracle stories of the gospels. Jesus does not say, “Go, I have healed you!” Rather he says to Bartimeus, “Go, your faith has healed you!” In fact, there are failed healing stories in the gospel where Jesus could not work any miracles because of a person’s lack of faith.  It takes two for a miracle healing to take place – the power of God and the faith of the one who asks for it.

One of the important ingredients, then, in all healing miracles is the strong belief that healing is possible. This strong faith triggers an abnormal acceleration of natural healing processes. This is true of all the healing shrines in all religions – it is the firm faith of the believer that unleashes God’s healing power.

Bartimeus can teach us something. Psalm 119 says, “God hates half-heartedness!” Very often we are ambivalent about what we say we want. Often we hang onto our infirmities, losses and blind spots because they give us convenient excuses for not getting on with life and doing hard the things that are involved. We say we want things to be different, but in reality, we are not so sure! We actually do not want things to change all that much.

I am sure Bartimeus thought twice about whether he really wanted to see because he knew that when he was able to see he had to quit feeling sorry for himself, give up depending on alms as a beggar and get a job for the first time in his life!

Some people wallow in grief for years over the loss of a loved one and find that they cannot go on. They say they would like to get over it, but in reality, they are scared of having to do the changing they would have to do to build a new life, another life, a scary new life of their own! It’s often safer to stay stuck than to change! Many people I run into as a priest will say they want their lives to be different, but in reality they don’t want it all that much, really! It’s easier to stay stuck! Bartimeus could teach them a lot today about getting up from their self-pity and get on with living! Yes, it is damned hard to move past grief, but the alternatives to not moving on are even harder!

Miracles are possible in our lives, but miracles are different from magic! Magic is about sitting around wishing somebody else would make things happen to make us all better. Magic is waiting for a fairy godmother to come and wave her magic wand over us and then we don’t have to do anything. For a miracle to happen, like Bartimeus we have to get up, throw away the security blankets that we have wrapped ourselves in and be clear about what we want and be willing to go get it! We have to override the naysayer in our own heads and the naysayers who line the roads of our life tell us we can't! Wishing and magic wait for others to fix us. Really wanting something makes us take action. God is willing to help those who are willing to help themselves.  Yes, we must help the helpless, but we also need to encourage those who can help themselves to believe in their own power to help themselves! 

Students! We can begin to work miracles in own lives by really wanting what we want and really believing that what we want is possible - like Bartimeus. As Dale Carnegie once wrote, “Believe that you will succeed…believe it firmly and you will do what is necessary to bring it to success.”  Jesus it put it this way to Bartimeus, “Your faith has healed you!”