Archive for October, 2012

Healing Blindness in Today’s World

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jer 31: 7-9, Heb 5: 1-6, Mark 10: 46-52

By Deacon Larry Brockman


How strong is your faith?  Are you willing to give up everything to cure your blindness?  That’s what the blind man did in today’s Gospel- he gave up everything because he believed that Jesus could cure him of his blindness.


Now you might say, “We’ll, what did he really have to lose;  After all, he was desperate”?  But you see, he stood to lose his cloak; and a cloak, in first century Jerusalem, was a critical possession.  It was protection against the elements- like wide swings in temperature and winds; and it doubled as a blanket at night.  Because he was homeless, that cloak was Bartimaeus primary protection.  It may have even been his only possession.  It was unthinkable for him to drop it, and walk away because he might never be able to recover it.  Indeed, Bartimaeus stood to lose whatever stability he did have in the world if he lost that cloak.  He stood to lose everything.  But Bartimeaus did just that- dropped it and walked away from it!  That’s how deep his Faith was in the power of a man he couldn’t even see- all on faith, a promise of something literally and figuratively unseen.


Now the faith Bartimaeus had in Jesus was all word of mouth from others as well.  So, something they told Bartimaeus must have really moved him.  Perhaps it was because he could see with his heart what others did not see with their senses- that Jesus’ message was different, not like that of the Pharisees.  It was compelling; revolutionary; and gave real and lasting meaning to life; and so Bartimaeus decided to take the risk, stepping out of what little comfort zone he had.  Because of the Faith he had in Jesus, he was cured of his physical blindness, and then he followed after Jesus.


Now most of you don’t consider yourselves blind.  So what does this have to do with you?  Well, you know something; there are all kinds of blindnesses.  And I suspect that all of us could benefit by recognizing our blindnesses, and doing something about them.  Let me just talk about blindnesses that we might have.  


Some of us are blind to how our society is becoming more and more secular; how our values are slowly eroding away.  Maybe it’s because we are too busy working or caring for our families, or just trying to deal with life’s trials, like illnesses, our children’s events, sports, and social activities.  And so, we hear about things, but we really don’t see them in the proper context; and we don’t step out of our comfort zone to cure them.  Bans on school prayer, holiday trees rather than Christmas trees; the push for gay marriage rights; public funding of abortion; the HHS mandate forcing Churches and their institutions to cover immoral procedures and drugs- these are all evidence of eroding public morality.  Our Church teaches that acts like abortion and gay marriage are intrinsically evil, and must always be opposed by Catholics in good standing.   But some of us are passive, inactive, yes even blind to these things and their consequences.   

When we are blind to what God’s natural law is.  Then we are blind to the disastrous affects that changes in our values on marriage and life have on our society.  But they are leading society to acceptance of Euthanasia and alternate family styles that are contrary to God’s plan.  That kind of blindness does harm to the body of Christ.  To correct it, we need to realize our blindness and step out of our comfort zone to act.


Secondly, consider our situation compared to the third world.  We consume at an ever faster rate and dump unspeakable amounts of garbage and waste- like plastic bags that virtually never degrade which clog our oceans and water ways, killing birds and animals along the way.  Meanwhile a very large percentage of the World’s population lives in poverty.  Millions are starving; millions can’t read or write; millions have inadequate shelter.  And while we pride ourselves that slavery is gone; many human beings are tricked by unprincipled people into the slavery of human trafficking.  Yet these offshore poor and the victims of human trafficking are ought of sight; out of mind.  Yes, it’s another form of blindness. 


The blindnesses that I just mentioned have a common theme- they are all characterized by a form of self-centeredness  A sort of tunnel vision which keeps us from seeing the reality of the larger world- a larger world that we are all called to see and to respond to.  Most of us are in some kind of comfort zone, and don’t really want to step away from it to do something.   

Today, Jesus is calling all of us to do what Bartimaeus did- to throw off the protective cloak that keeps us in a safe haven; that protects us from things we would rather not see or deal with; and through Faith, resolve to open our hearts and minds to see these things as they really are so we can do something about them. 


It’s a tall order, and it is hard to see what we can do that would really make a difference or even how we can get started.  But, the very first step is actually very easy- it is prayer.  Ask Jesus the very same thing that Bartimaeus asked Him: “Master, I want to see”.  Because when you do that, Jesus will respond, as in the Gospel: “Go your way, your faith has saved you”.  And you have only to follow the urgings of the Lord in good faith, he can and will do the rest through you. 

Evangelizing in the Year of Faith

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Thursday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time

Eph 3: 14-21: Luke 12: 49-53

By Deacon Larry Brockman


Something we should all keep in mind is that the Father has named all Families.  In other words, He acted as the Father of all the peoples in heaven and on earth; and in so doing, He named, that is, created not just the Americans, but the Chinese, the Arabs, the Europeans, the Indians, and everyone else.  They were all made by Him; somewhat differently, indeed; but He made them all what they are for his own glory and praise.  And for whatever reason, God has inspired His people in different ways to come to knowledge of Himself.  And so, there are different Religious traditions- Hindus, Buddhists, Confucists, Taoists, Jews, Muslims, Christians, and so on.  All of these traditions recognize the need for a higher purpose in life than life as we know it; and most of them recognize that there is an architect of life and creation- God.   But to you and I, God gave something really special.  He has given us a clearer, more direct vision of Himself and our destiny.  We have been given the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Gospel, the Resurrection, and the path to Eternal Life.  And that, compared to the other traditions, is special.


Now Pope Benedict has declared this year the year of Faith.  His reasons are multiple:  The secular world has drifted away from God; and the truth, which we hold, is not being spread to all peoples.  We have also fallen victim to the idea of live and let live.  We hold to an unhealthy, and I might even say, an ungodly extreme of living and let live called pluralism- one in which we look the other way to evil and the devil under the guise that everyone is entitled to their own belief and opinion.


And so, the time has come for us to return to our roots.  Our roots are based on Faith- Faith in Jesus Christ, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Gospel, the Resurrection, and Life Everlasting; and the living of that Faith in such a way that others will see it in action.  Our living of Faith should be so compelling that, just as in the early days of Christianity, the secular world will see it and be impressed by it, even when we are persecuted.  Our living in Faith should be as zealous as that implied in today’s Gospel by Jesus.  Clearly, Jesus was brimming over with excitement to fulfill the will of God and His destiny.  Because He knew that He would rock the World with controversy, with truth and the message of everlasting life for all who believe.  Jesus was not passive, but passionate and active.  And that is what we are called to be as well- zealous, passionate and active for Christ.


How?  By lobbying for and voting for people who represent Christian values; by showing our Christian Faith in what we say and do even when it is politically incorrect; by patient and loving tolerance of others, but without compromising our values at the same time.  For example, we need to be thankful to God, not just some abstract feeling of thankfulness, at Thanksgiving.  And it is Christmas, not the Holidays, that is coming up on our calendars.


In short, it is time for us to be enthusiastic for the Lord in all we do and say so that the rest of the World comes to know the Jesus we know.