Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B 2015 (Oct 25)

Posted in christian, Christianity, homily, inspirational, Word by Fr. Ron Stephens on October 18, 2015

Homily for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B 2015 (Oct 25)

     Our Psalm response today is “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” That seems to pick up on the dominant theme of the readings today. So many times these days we turn to the Lord when we are in trouble or when we have something to ask for. With today’s readings, we reflect not on our needs but on the gifts that have been given us. When we have bad days as all of us do occasionally, we can wallow in the sadness or fear or anger, or we can choose to look at the one good thing about the day – the one positive in an otherwise awful day.

     This seems to be what God is reminding Jeremiah and his people about today. The Jewish people had been scattered, they no longer had a place to worship in which God dwelled. They were separated from their families, they were in a foreign land and they lost much of their freedom. It could be pretty gloomy. A few weeks ago we heard the psalm that said: “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.”

But instead of this depression, God points out a few good things and wants them instead to “sing aloud” and “raise shouts”. Despite the fact hat they sinned and were punished by being sent away, the good news was that God never gave up on them, that God still loved them, that God still saw himself as their father, and he will save them. This, despite all the wrongs they had done against God!

     So God makes a few promises here in Jeremiah: he will “lead them back” home again, no matter how far away they are. And not just the healthy and strong ones, but the blind, the lame, the pregnant. He will take care of them all. So think about that when you get depressed!

     The Psalm then shows us how God did carry out that promise to them. It says: “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion… then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with shouts of joy”.  The promise is still there for us as well. In the last verse we hear: “Those who go out weeping…shall come home with shouts of joy.” All we need do is to look at the positives God will do for us and has done instead of being negative and filling our lives with worry.

     Similarly in the Gospel today we read of Bartimaeus, a blind man, who had every reason to be depressed and miserable. But Bartimaeus had heard word of Jesus and the healings and he believed Jesus to be the Messiah. We know that because he uses the term Son of David which was a code for Messiah. The others around him who went to see Jesus did not seem to have such a belief. They may have been there for the celebrity – to see what this Jesus was all about. They even tried to get Bartimaeus to shut up. But they didn’t succeed. Bartimaeus knew what he wanted and he knew who could give it to him, so he shouted all the louder. We might take note of this ourselves when we want something very badly and are not getting it from God.  Maybe we have to not give up and, indeed, shout even louder!

     When Jesus heard Bartimaeus he stopped walking and asked for Bartimaeus to be brought to him. I love the directness of both Jesus and the blind man. They don’t waste any time or any words. Both know what they want. Jesus doesn’t make small talk; he comes right to the point. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asks. Bartimaeus is just as direct: I want to see again. And Jesus cures him. Just like that! Jesus also says that what has made him well is his great faith. Earlier he had told the disciples that faith can move mountains. Well, blindness is certainly a mountain to move!

We also notice that when Bartimaeus could see, he didn’t run off, but that his faith and his belief in the Jesus as Messiah caused him to become a follower of Jesus. He “followed Jesus on the way.” The “way” was one of the first names given to Jesus’ teachings. Bartimaeus didn’t spend his time depressed because he was blind, but he took action and concentrated on the positive that there was a healer.

     The Epistle today focuses on Christ as the high priest – the one person who could go into he Holy of Holies and speak to God on our behalf, offer gifts and make sin sacrifices. In our attempts to focus on what God has done for us, we must call to mind what it means that God sent his only Son as a human like us, and so he knows what we are up against in our daily lives. He was up against it, too. So we need to focus on how wonderful God has been to us, how caring, how forgiving, to give us this gift of himself!

     Let us take the time this week to focus on the good things in our life that God has provided, not on the bad things going on. There will always be negatives in our lives – that’s what it means to be human, to grow older, to be tempted. Instead, let us look at the good things God has done for us, the good things that present themselves to us each day – the smile from a neighbor, the help from a store clerk, the play of a child, the sun in our face. They are there if we concentrate on them, and just maybe, it will carry over into our lives and the lives of others, making this world even closer to that kingdom of God that Jesus preached about.

     And this is the joyful Good News I want you to think about this week!.

Bishop Ron Stephens

Pastor of St. Andrew’s Parish in Warrenton, VA

The Catholic Apostolic Church in North America (CACINA)

[Prepare for next year! Volume 3 (Luke) of Bishop Ron’s homilies, one for every Sunday and Feast, is available from for $9.99 – “Teaching the Church Year”]

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