Everyone is Called


30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jer 31: 7-9; Heb 5: 1-6; Mk 10: 46-52

Dc. Larry Brockman

Everyone likes to think they are special.  Everybody likes to be singled out, and called upon. 

I recall an incident last weekend that shows this.  There was an opening for one of the officers on the Deacon’s Council.  The President of the Council said nobody had stepped forward to be a candidate, and so he asked for people to volunteer as a candidate.  But nobody volunteered.  Finally, after awkward moments of silence, someone was nominated and we elected that person.  Later, some of us were discussing the situation at dinner.  Several folks indicated they would have been willing to serve.  But, to a person, they all wanted to be asked to serve.  They didn’t want to volunteer to serve.  They wanted to be chosen, set apart by someone else recognizing them.  Yes, everybody likes to be called.

Today’s scriptures are all about being called.  First, we hear of the remnant of Israel, called back to the promised land after the exile.  Notice that among that number, the blind and the women with children were specially mentioned.  It seems to me that these are folks one would not normally call to a special role- pregnant women and blind people.  But the message was that everybody was being called by God, even the least capable of serving were being called.  This perception is reinforced by the words that talk about gathering folks from all over the world, not just those that were in the place of exile, Babylon.   

Likewise, all of us are being called today.  We are all swept up in the call to be part of the promised land, the Kingdom of God.  But the call is a general call, it is not one that singles us out, one where someone comes up to you and says you have been specially chosen.  And so, many don’t hear that call.   

In the Gospel, we hear about a man being called as well.  Bartimaeus is a blind man who wants to see.  He has been stuck- a victim of his blindness, his entire life.  But, he heard about Jesus, and that gave him hope.  So, he pesters Jesus by calling aloud to him, only to be rebuked by those around Jesus.  What does Jesus do?  He calls him, and cures him, and Bartimaeus follows Jesus thereafter.  In this case, Bartimaeus stepped forward, stepped out of his blindness because he had a desire- a desire to see.  He wasn’t chosen as special to begin with.  Rather, he was chosen for the special gift of sight only after he made the first step. 

Symbolically, all of us who are called, but don’t respond, are just like Bartimaeus.  We are just as stuck, parked on the sidelines of life, and blind to the call we have all received from God.  We don’t recognize the general call talked about in the first reading- that all of us, whatever our situation, whether healthy or sick, rich or poor, busy or not, pregnant or not; we are called by God to come and join his march to the Kingdom.  But we don’t go, and so we remain as we are, stuck.   

Bartimaeus recognized his blindness, and so he called out to the Lord.  It was then that he was able to hear the voice of Jesus who told him to come, and enjoy a special gift from the Lord- the gift of sight.  And In exchange for opening his eyes, Jesus asks the man to follow him.  He will do the same for you and I if we respond.  The key to our admission into the Kingdom is to have our eyes opened into what is really important, to what we have been called to do in our lives and to follow the example of Jesus Christ by living it.  For most, it is probably right in front of us, but we are blind to it.  Rather, we are looking for something that isn’t for us- fancy things, fantasy relationships, special accomplishments- whatever it is that we do see, rather than the simple things that are right in front of us that we just don’t see calling to us- our children, someone who needs our help, or some thankless job that needs to be done, something that we just pass right over without seeing- like someone stuck on the side of the road as we drive by. 

So, my challenge to you is to pray that your eyes may be opened to the reality that God wants for you, the one right in front of you that you cannot see.  Open your eyes, and take it in and follow Jesus along the way. 

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