• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 26 October 2018 17:25

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 2018

Written by

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150This Sunday’s Gospel text always stirs up for me an imaginary charming “family” scene.  Bartimaeus (one of the few people cured by Jesus whose name we know) is having dinner with some of the other disciples of Jesus (we know that after his sight was restored he followed Jesus).  A new follower of Jesus arrives and the disciples warmly welcomes him or her.  After a bit of conversation they say “you must meet Bartimaeus and hear his story.”  So they call him over and ask him to tell the new arrival the story of what happened to him.

Bartimaeus would have told his story often, but he was delighted to tell it once again.  He said that he had been blind and so was not able to work.  He would sit at the city gate and spread out his cloak to receive whatever offerings people might want to make.  One day he could hear a large crowd passing near-by.  He asked what was happening.  They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.  He had heard about Jesus and about his many miracles, but he also believed that Jesus was someone especially chosen by God – he was “the Son of David”.  And so he cried out: Son of David, have pity on me.  Jesus asked to see him and asked him what he wanted.  So he said: Lord, that I may see.  And suddenly he could see again.  So he decided to follow after him and become one of Jesus’ disciples.  All the disciples loved the simple way in which he told his story and laughed with him at what had happened.  They had heard the story often, but they loved hearing it again.  It resonated so much with their own stories.

I think the image of a happy family gathered together and sharing their stories comes to my mind for two things found in the text.  First of all, they knew one another’s names.  I guess Christians for the most part should know and care about one another enough to at least learn their name.  But we often don’t do that.  I received a very important lesson about this when I became a chaplain for a SPRED (Special Religious Education) group in Chicago.  I had never had much to do with the physically or mentally handicapped (or as they say today: differently gifted) young people.  It was a marvellous program.  There was one head catechist and each young person had a “friend/catechist”.  One week these “friends” would meet as a group to pray and talk about their catechesis.  The other week they would meet with their young person in a group.  I would be invited often to join the group to celebrate the sacraments.  The “friend/catechist”s taught me how to listen to and talk with these special young people.  I can still remember them telling me at our very first get-together – Fr. Larry, it is very important to call them by name, especially when celebrating the sacraments.  I soon became aware of the fact that giving them their name was giving them a dignity they did not always receive from others.   So the Christian community by knowing the names “Bartimaeus” and “Son of David” was not only acknowledging their persons but also their dignity.  No wonder there was always so much fun and laughter in the Community.  At least this was always true with the SPRED people.

Secondly, in a family gathering one likes to hear the old stories again and again and again.  The disciples also wanted to listen and tell their stories of how God had acted in their lives to encourage the new arrival to trust how God also had acted in his or her life.  I came to appreciate this when I was put in charge of the Mission Studies Program at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.  I set up meetings once a month for “Returned Missionaries” to come together to share their stories.  I found that most people were too busy to really hear the stories of the missionaries – stories that they had to tell.  But other missionaries could understand what they were saying and could appreciate how God had acted also in their own lives.  I realized how important this was, and so I set up such a group in Melbourne when I arrived here in 1991 and a group in London when I arrived there in 1999.  

But not only missionaries are enriched by telling their stories and listening to those of others, but also all Christians can profit from sharing the stories of how God acts in their lives.  I found this to be true in the Cursillo movement and the Team of Our Lady movement where a sharing of their stories is an important element in their movements.  It is this sharing that brings understanding, strength and joy to a Christian.  I guess that is why I think the early Christian Community must have delighted to tell a new arrival to their group: come – you must hear the story of Bartimaeus!