October 21, 2018

O. T. XXX (B) Sunday (October 28th) homily

One -page Summary of OT XXX (Oct 28) Jer 31:7-9; Heb 5: 1-6; Mk 10: 46-52

The central theme of today’s readings is the overflowing mercy and kindness of a loving, healing and forgiving God for His children. (Add an anecdote)

Scripture lessons: The first reading tells us how a forgiving and compassionate God has been healing the spiritual blindness of His Chosen People by subjecting them to captivity in Babylon and liberating them and bringing them back to their homeland. The Jerusalem journey of Jesus in the company of the lame and the blind connects the first reading to today’s gospel. The healing of the blind Bartimaeus in today’s Gospel is also seen as the fulfillment of the joyful prophecy of Jeremiah about the return of the exiled Jews from Babylon to their homeland.  Today’s second reading, taken from Hebrews 5, presents Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for sins and as the true High Priest of the New Testament. It also gives us the assurance that our High Priest, Jesus, is sympathetic to us because he has shared our human nature.  Today’s Gospel explains how Jesus shows the mercy and compassion of his Heavenly Father by healing the blind Bartimaeus. Just as the blind and the lame were God’s concern in the first reading, Jesus is concerned with the blind beggar, Bartimaeus of Jericho.  On hearing that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, Bartimaeus loudly expressed his trusting faith in the healing power of Jesus by shouting his request, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” When Jesus invited him to come near, Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak (symbolizing perhaps the baptismal divesting). His   meeting with Jesus gave Bartimaeus the gift of spiritual as well as physical sight, and he became a disciple of Jesus.

Life messages: 1) Instead of remaining in spiritual blindness, let us pray for spiritual sight.  Each one of us suffers from spiritual blindness. Hence, we need the light of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us, granting us proper spiritual vision.  Let us learn to recognize the causes of our spiritual blindness. Anger, hatred, prejudice, jealousy, evil habits, addictions etc. make us spiritually blind, and they prevent us from seeing the goodness in our family members, neighbors and God’s presence in them. Hence let us learn to think about and see the goodness in others without becoming unkind, critical and   judgmental.  We are blinded by greed when we are never satisfied with what we have and incur debts to buy luxury items.  Hence, let us pray to have a clear vision of Christian values and priorities in our lives and to acknowledge the presence of God dwelling in ourselves and in our neighbors. A clear spiritual vision enables us to see the goodness in others, to express our appreciation for all that they have been doing for us, and to refrain from criticizing their performance.  2) We need to have Faith, profess it, practice it and spread it: God offers us the gift of faith, and with his help we assent to what He proposes that we believe. “By faith ‘man freely commits his entire self to God.’ For this reason, the believer seeks to know and do God’s will.” (CCC 1814). “The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it . . . Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation.” (CCC 1816). In order to do it we need to receive doctrinal formation regardless of our age or level of education. God wants us to put the faith into practice in our ordinary lives because “faith apart from works is dead” (Jas 2:26). Finally, God wants us to spread the faith. “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 10:32-33).

OT XXX [B] (Oct 10) Jer 31:7-9; Heb 5: 1-6; Mk10:46-52 (L/18)

Homily starter anecdotes: # 1: Blindfolded in the den of lion: In the seven years that he was held hostage in Lebanon, Terry A. Anderson, Chief Middle East Correspondent of the Associated Press was physically and psychologically abused, beaten and tortured by his captors. Chained to a bed or to the wall and stripped to his underwear, Anderson was kept blindfolded so as not to be able to recognize his whereabouts or subsequently reveal the identities of his guards. Deprived of physical sight and freedom, Anderson spent those seven years engaged in a spiritual odyssey marked by an ever-deepening insight. Blindfolded in darkness, he discovered the inner light of grace that enabled him to look once again in faith at God, to see himself in stark truthfulness and humility and even to look upon his captors with a sense of understanding. His probing spiritual perception led Anderson to seek reconciliation with and healing forgiveness from God. Through the ministry of Father Lawrence Jenco, a fellow hostage, Anderson rediscovered his faith. The following is Anderson’s prayer on that occasion: Where is faith found? Not in a book or in a church, not often or for everyone. In childish times, it’s easier; a child believes just what it’s told. But children grow and soon begin to see too much that doesn’t match the simple tales, and not enough of what’s behind their parents’ words. There is no God, the cynics say; we made Him up out of our need and fear of death. And happily, they offer up their test-tube proofs. A mystery, the priests all say, and point to saints that prove their faith in acts of love and sacrifice. But what of us who are not saints, only common human sinners? And what of those who in their need and pain cry out to God and go on suffering? I do not know — I wish I did. Sometimes I feel all the world’s pain. I only say that once in my own need I felt a light and warm and loving touch that eased my soul and banished doubt and let me go on to the end. It is not proof — there can be none. Faith’s what you find when you’re alone and find you’re not (Den of Lion, Memoirs of Seven Years, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York: 1993). In today’s gospel, another man, deprived of physical sight invites the gathered assembly in this church to share in his spiritual odyssey. We are often held hostage by our pride, fear, or self-seeking or by the “blindfold” of indifference to the needs of others. With Bartimaeus, let us pray for both freedom from spiritual blindness and growth in faith, saying, “Lord, I want to see.” (Sanchez Archives).

# 2: An ancient eye test for spiritual blindness: Fr. De Mello tells a story which can help us to check our spiritual blindness.  A hermit asked his disciples: “When do you say that the night is ended, and it is morning?”  The first disciple said: “I say that it is morning when I can distinguish an oak tree from a maple tree.” The hermit said: “No.”  The second disciple answered: “I know it is morning when I can distinguish a cow from a sheep at a distance.”   Once again, the hermit disagreed.   The third disciple replied, “It is morning when no star is visible in the cloudless sky.” “That is also a wrong answer,” said the hermit.  Then he explained:” I know it is morning when I can recognize a person as a son or daughter of God, and, hence, my own brother or sister.”

# 3: Two famous prayers for spiritual vision: Cardinal Newman prays for clear vision in his famous poem, “Lead Kindly Light”:

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom; lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

 “Amazing Grace,” As the captain of a British slave ship, John Newton regained his faith during a storm at sea and became an ordained minister who was very active in the abolitionist movement. He explains how he gained his spiritual eyesight in his famous hymn, Amazing Grace.

Amazing grace!
How sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
was blind but now I see.

Today’s Gospel, which tells of the healing of the blind man, Bartimaeus, challenges us to strengthen our faith in Jesus, the healer, and invites us to gain true spiritual vision.

Introduction: The central theme of today’s readings is the overflowing mercy and kindness of a loving and forgiving God for His people. The first reading tells us how a forgiving and compassionate God healed the spiritual blindness of His Chosen People by subjecting them to captivity in Babylon and then liberated them, bringing them back to their homeland. The Jerusalem journey of Jesus in the company of the lame and the blind is the connection between the first reading and today’s gospel.  The healing of the blind Bartimaeus in today’s Gospel is seen also as the fulfillment of the joyful prophecy of Jeremiah about the return of the exiled Jews from Babylon to their homeland.  Today’s second reading, taken from the letter to the Hebrews, presents Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for sins and as the great High Priest. It identifies Jesus as the true High Priest of the New Testament. It also gives us the assurance that, as the High Priest, Jesus is sympathetic to us because He has shared our human nature.  Today’s Gospel explains how Jesus showed the mercy and compassion of his Heavenly Father by healing Bartimaeus, a blind man. Just as the blind and the lame were God’s concern in the first reading, Jesus was concerned with the blind beggar, Bartimaeus of Jericho.  On hearing that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, Bartimaeus loudly expressed his trusting faith in the healing power of Jesus by shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” As Jesus invited him to come near, Bartimaeus threw aside his cloak (symbolizing perhaps the baptismal divesting). His   meeting with Jesus gave Bartimaeus the gift of spiritual as well as physical sight, and he became a disciple of Jesus.

First reading: Jer 31: 7-9, explained: This passage is part of the second of a series of four poems celebrating the return from the Babylonian Exile. Like a similar hymn of the return in Isiah 35 this hymn stresses the presence of the weak, the blind and the lame, nursing and pregnant mothers among those returning from exile. (Fr. R. Fuller).  It tells us of the small number of people, “the remnant of Israel,” who had survived the Assyrian captivity begun in 721 B.C.  Jeremiah encourages his exiled fellow Jews with a promise of a homecoming reminding of the joy and triumph of the first coming home of their ancestors from Egypt’s slavery to the promised land.  Jeremiah describes the coming return of the Babylonian captives as they will be led on their joyful journey home to Jerusalem. The passage foretells God’s promise to give His people life in all its fullness. Through their exile and suffering, the people had learned to humble themselves and turn to God with sincere repentance.  The returnees would include not only the healthy, but the blind, the lame, and the vulnerable.  Originally spiritually blind, the exiled Jews, through suffering, would receive spiritual sight, and they would express their gratitude to God by singing His glories on their way back to their city.  Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem in the company of the lame and the blind connects this first reading with today’s gospel. “By extending a word of healing and salvation (“your faith has healed, i.e. saved you”, Mark 10:52) to the poor, sick and needy, Jesus realized Jeremiah’s vision. Moreover, what the prophet had promised, regarding the return of the exiles to Judah, would be eclipsed by the ultimate return of all peoples to God, a homecoming Jesus would accomplish through the saving, healing power of his cross.” (Sanchez archives). The Gospel highlights the actions of Bartimaeus which called healing from the heart of Jesus and prompted the now-seeing beggar to follow Jesus as a witnessing disciple.  The first reading, on the other hand, directs our attention to God’s merciful actions: “delivering his people . . . bringing them back . . . gathering them . . . consoling them… guiding them . . . leading them.” The Responsorial Psalm: 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 chosen today is  the most  appropriate psalm to go with Jeremiah 31:7-9, because  like that hymn  it also celebrates the return from Babylon, and indeed the contrast between sorrow and joy is the theme of both passages.

The second reading (Hebrews 5: 1), explained: The reading describes Jesus as the High Priest of the new Covenant and explains Jesus’ qualifications for high priesthood.  It likens him to the class of ancient priests, (sympathetic and patient, not glorifying himself), then distinguishes Jesus from the others (because the Father called Jesus his Son).  The people addressed in this letter had been put out of the synagogues when they accepted Jesus. Some were even abandoning Christ to return to Judaism. Hence the writer of Hebrews tries to comfort them by depicting Jesus as a superior replacement for the priests upon whom they had formerly depended because Jesus was appointed by God to that ministry to serve the people as intermediary between God and man and as man-God he had empathy for and profound patience with “erring sinners.” The Jewish High Priest was a sinner like others, and his role was to offer sacrifices to God, for himself and for the people as their representative. But Jesus was sinless; he offered himself as a sacrifice for all sin, and he continues to act as our mediator at “the throne of grace.” Further, Jesus, the Son of God, was appointed directly by God to an even better priesthood (“the order of Melchizedek” Ps 110:4). In his role, person and appointment, Jesus surpassed every High Priest in ancient Israel. Hence through Jesus, the true High Priest, we can approach the throne of grace with confidence and boldness, and we can expect mercy and favor from God.  It also gives us the assurance that our High Priest, Jesus, is sympathetic to us because he has shared our human nature.

Gospel exegesis:   The context: Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem through Jericho, an ancient city fifteen miles away from Jerusalem.  Jericho was the first city conquered by the Israelites when they entered Palestine. It was a city of great wealth and remarkable beauty, supporting many date palm plantations and fig trees.  Great numbers of merchants and Jewish priests made their homes in this pleasant city. The Mosaic Law required every Jewish male over the age of twelve and living within fifteen miles of Jerusalem to attend the Passover.  Those who, for one reason or another, were exempt from this obligation would often line the roads to Jerusalem to greet the crowds of pilgrims as they passed toward the city.  The Jewish rabbis on pilgrimage often taught religious lessons to the pilgrims on their journey.  Beggars also capitalized on the increased traffic through the city to beg for money.  One such beggar was the blind man known as Bartimaeus.

James & John versus Bartimaeus:  It is not by coincidence that this Gospel of blind Bartimaeus follows immediately upon last Sunday’s text about James and John’s ambitious request for positions of primacy in Jesus’ coming Kingdom. It is probable that Mark intends to the two stories to be seen in contrast: James and John, although possessing physical sight, evidently do not “see” Jesus for who He is, do not understand Him and His message properly yet, and are still too filled with pride and a desire for power. Bartimaeus, on the other hand, although physically blind, evidently “sees” Jesus much better than some of His own disciples; he recognizes Jesus as the promised Davidic Messiah, but, instead of asking for power and glory, seeks only the healing and mercy that many Jews believed the Messiah to be bringing. (Rev. Dr. Watson, Jerusalem). Were there two blind men, or one? Did this healing occur once or twice? St. Augustine is convinced that Mark and Luke are recounting two similar but not identical stories, involving two different men (de Con. Evan., ii, 65). Luke says that the healing happened as Jesus was arriving in Jericho, whereas Mark says that it occurred as Jesus was leaving Jericho. The fact that in Jesus’ time there were actually two Jerichos may be reflected in the differences in the accounts of healing two blind men (Matt 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43). Jesus healed the blind men after He left the old Jericho and as He was approaching Herodian Jericho.

Jesus spots a particular blind man in the crowd: The story of Bartimaeus is the last healing miracle recorded in the Gospel of Mark.  (The name Bartimaeus in Aramaic meant ‘son of Timaeus,’ just as Peter was known as Simon bar-Yona, ‘son of Jonah’) The story is presented dramatically.  While the majority of those who received healing in the New Testament are not mentioned by name, in this case, the beggar’s name is given as Bartimaeus. When the people told Bartimaeus the news of Jesus’ passage through the city, he screamed out for Jesus’ attention as one abandoned by both God and man who could scarcely dare to dream of something better.   He began to shout his remarkable prayer of Faith: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” (Perhaps there was a popular belief that any member of David’s family had inherited at least some of their illustrious ancestor’s powers? We should also recall that, especially under Roman occupation, the title “Son of David,” with both its royal and messianic associations, would have had strongly political overtones, and was potentially subversive. Dr. Watson). Jesus heard one voice crying out through the noise of the crowd.  Who would have expected a Messianic greeting from a blind beggar? In spite of the crowd’s objections, Jesus stopped and, recognizingBartimaeus Faith, called the blind man over. In the Law of Moses, the blind are among those who are to be accorded protection in the name of God. Leviticus admonishes the Israelites not to “curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind.” In Deuteronomy those who lead the blind astray along the road are placed under the same curse as those who withhold justice from the alien, the orphan or the widowed. Psalm 146 proclaims that God gives sight to the blind, lifts up those who are bowed down and loves the righteous.   

Bartimaeus’ response of trusting Faith: The people conveyed Jesus’ invitation to Bartimaeus, who responded by jumping up and running to Jesus.  By addressing Jesus as Son of David, the beggar publicly identified Jesus as the Messiah.  At Jesus’ summons, Bartimaeus threw aside his long cloak, his only possession, which protected him from heat and cold.  In throwing away his cloak, he gave up everything he had depended on, putting his complete trust in God. Discarding his cloak represented a radical break with his previous life (symbolized by his cloak), in the same way that Peter, James and John left their fishing boats and nets behind them when “called” by Jesus?  The energy and the passion with which Bartimaeus responded to Jesus’ summons should characterize all those who seek to respond to Jesus’ call.  Jesus then asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Bartimaeus replied promptly: “Master, I want to see.”  Jesus rewarded his faith by restoring both his physical and his spiritual sight. “All four of the evangelists use sight as a symbol for Christian faith. Believing is the deepest kind of “seeing.” The early Church called baptism enlightenment.” (Fr. Dennis Hamm S. J.).  Having received physical and spiritual sight, Bartimaeus followed Jesus joyfully along the road. This blind man follows Jesus in the “Way,” a technical term for Christian discipleship.   The gift of sight led Bartimaeus to faith, and faith came to full expression in committed discipleship. He wanted to stay close to his Savior, to thank, praise, and serve Him.  Thus, today’s Gospel presents Bartimaeus as the model for us, in his prayer and in his wholehearted commitment to a discipleship that included, and still includes, rejection by those who refuse to believe. Bartimaeus is presented to contemporary believers as a guide in the Christian way because he was a man of faith and vision, a man unafraid to recognize his need for healing and to cry out, “I want to see!”, the man from Jericho invites us also to follow him up the road. Let us remember the old Persian proverb, “A blind man who sees is better than a seeing man who is blind.”

Lessons of Christian discipleship: The section of Mark’s Gospel that deals with discipleship (8:22-10:52), begins with the healing of a blind man (8:22-26), and concludes with the story of another blind man, Bartimaeus.  In between these two stories are three episodes in which the disciples are presented as blind to the meaning of Jesus’ mission and of their own discipleship.  Their spiritual “blindness” is evident in their persistent misunderstanding.  The gradual coming to sight of the first blind man (8:22-26), stands in contrast to the story of Bartimaeus, who regains his vision at once and becomes a follower of Jesus.  The healing of the blind Bartimaeus contains four main elements of Christian discipleship: a) the correct recognition of Jesus as Lord and Savior (“Jesus, Son of David”); b) the acknowledgement of the need for Jesus’ help (“Have pity on me”; “I want to see”); c) ready response to Jesus’ call (“He . . . came to Jesus“); and d) becoming Jesus’ disciple (” … followed him on the way“). “The Church has always taught that the life-changing grace of Christ is made available through the sacraments irrespective of the holiness of the minister or the congregation. In the Eucharist, the sacrament of sacraments, it is not just God’s grace but Christ’s bodily presence which is made available. That means that every Sunday we have the same opportunity as Bartimaeus. Then, why do so many of us go to Mass again and again and walk out the door much the same as we went in? Why so little healing, so little growth in holiness? Maybe because we lack the outrageously bold faith of Bartimaeus. The gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, healing, purification, guidance, all are there for the taking. Hence, in   the spirit of Bartimaeus, let’s determine to stop going home empty-handed.”  (Dr. Watson).

The Messianic implications: The healing of Bartimaeus has Messianic implications.  Jesus commended Bartimaeus because he had correctly understood that Jesus was the Son of David and the expected Messiah.  Referring to the coming of the Messiah, Isaiah wrote: “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped” (Isaiah 35:5; 29:18, 42:7).  The Church has taken the persistent prayer of Bartimaeus to heart.  The prayer “Kyrie eleison” (“Lord, have mercy“), appears frequently in the liturgy.  Bartimaeus’ prayer has also become the source of “the Jesus Prayer:” “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.”  In its adapted form, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” it has become a popular Christian prayer.  The Church advises us to repeat it frequently, in acknowledgement of our sinfulness and our need for God’s mercy.  Like Bartimaeus, we should recognize — even in our blind moments — the presence of Jesus.  We can trust in the power of Jesus to give us new visions and to strengthen us in our weakness.

Life messages: 1) Instead of remaining in spiritual blindness, let us pray for spiritual sight.  Each one of us suffers from spiritual blindness. Hence, we need the light of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us.  Anger, hatred, prejudice, jealousy, evil habits, etc., make us spiritually blind and prevent us from seeing the goodness in our neighbors and God’s presence in them. We are blind to a sense of justice when we refuse to pay our debts, or when we collect our wages though we have not done an honest day’s work for that day’s pay or have cheated our employer by taking time or items that belong to the company.  We are blinded by greed when we are never satisfied with what we have and incur debts to buy luxury items.  Hence, let us pray to have a clear vision of Christian values and
priorities in our lives and to acknowledge the presence of God dwelling in ourselves and in our neighbors. A clear spiritual vision enables us to see the goodness in others, to express our appreciation for all that they have been doing for us, and to refrain from criticizing their performance.

2) We need to “cry out” to Jesus, as Bartimaeus did.  Like Bartimaeus, we must seek Jesus with trust in his goodness and mercy.  Sometimes our fears, anger and habitual sins prevent us from approaching God in prayer.  At times, we even become angry with God when He seems slow in answering our prayers.  In these desperate moments, let us approach Jesus in prayer with trusting Faith as Bartimaeus did and listen carefully to the voice of Jesus asking us: “What do you want me to do for you?”  Let us tell Him all our heart’s intentions and needs.   Let us imitate Bartimaeus, the   man of faith and vision, a man unafraid to recognize his need for healing and to cry out, “I want to see!”

3) We need to have Faith, profess it, practice it and spread it: God offers us the gift of faith, and with his help we assent to what he proposes that we believe. “By faith ‘man freely commits his entire self to God.’ For this reason, the believer seeks to know and do God’s will.” (CCC 1814). “The disciple of Christ must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it . . . Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation.” (CCC 1816). In order to do it we need to receive doctrinal formation regardless of our age or level of education. God wants us to put the faith into practice in our ordinary lives because “faith apart from works is dead” (Jas 2:26). Finally, God wants us to spread the faith. “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 10:32-33).

4) We need to have the courage of our convictions.  We need people who, like Bartimaeus, will refuse to be silenced by the secular leaders of our society.  We must make our politicians realize that our country is rejecting Christian principles and facing a loss of values.  A good example of this is the heated controversy over the First Amendment to the Constitution in the U.S.   The First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  This is a simple statement of the right of an individual to follow his own conscience in worship.  Unfortunately, it is often interpreted by activist judges to mean that the expression of all religious ideas is forbidden by the government.  This is a far cry from the intention of the founding fathers.  James Madison (the primary author of the Constitution) said, “Religion [is] the basis and Foundation of Government….  We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves… according to the Ten Commandments of God.”  Even Thomas Jefferson, who coined the phrase “separation of Church and State”, wrote: “God gave us life and liberty.  Thus, the liberties of a nation cannot be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God, and that they are not to be violated but with His wrath.  Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

JOKE OF THE WEEK

#1: #1: Buffalo-bicycle: The blind farmer was often taken for a walk in the fields by a kind neighbor. However kindly the neighbor might have been, he was undoubtedly a coward. When a bull charged towards them one day, he abandoned the blind man. The bull, puzzled by a lack of fear, nudged the farmer in the back. He turned very quickly, caught the bull by the horns and threw it to the ground with a bump that left it breathless. “Aidan,” said the neighbor, “I never knew you were so strong.” “Smith, if I could have got that fella off the handlebars of the bicycle I’d have thrashed him properly.”

# 2: Blind police officer! An older woman came home one day to find that her house had been broken into. She immediately called the police and told them. The nearest officer to her house happened to be a K-9 unit, so that officer was the one who responded to the call. The officer drove up to the house and proceeded to let the dog out of the car. The woman came running out of the house when she saw the police car but stopped when she saw the dog getting out. She threw up her hands and said, “Great. This is just great. Not only have I been robbed, but now they send me a blind police officer!” [Parables, Etc. (Saratoga Press, P.O. Box 8, Platteville, CO, 80651; 970-785-2990), March] Being blind really isn’t a laughing matter. In today’s Gospel episode, Bartimaeus was a real blind man whom Jesus healed.

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK

#1: The Catholic Search Engine & World Wide Catholic Web Directory: http://catholic.org/newsearch/index. # 2: Catholic Educator’s Resource center: http://www.catholiceducation.org/ # 3: Faith First: http://www.faithfirst.com/

# 4: Catholic Blogs: http://www.catholicblogs.com/sitemap.html

22 Additional anecdotes:

1)One man’s indomitable spirit and his determination:  In 1883, a creative engineer named John Roebling was inspired by an idea to build a spectacular bridge connecting New York with the Long Island. However, bridge building experts throughout, the world thought that this was an impossible feat and told Roebling to forget the idea. It just could not be done. It was not practical. It had never been done before. Roebling could not ignore the vision he had in his mind of this bridge. He thought about it all the time and he knew deep in his heart that it could be done. He just had to share the dream with someone else. After much discussion and persuasion, he managed to convince his son Washington, an up and coming engineer, that the bridge in fact could be built. Father and son began to work together. The project started well, but when it was only a few months underway a tragic accident on the site took the life of John Roebling. Washington was also injured and left with a certain amount of brain damage, which resulted in him not being able to talk or walk. Everyone said, “Crazy men and their crazy dreams.” “It’s foolish to chase wild visions.” In spite of his handicap Washington was never discouraged and still had a burning desire to complete the bridge. As he lay on his bed in his hospital room, with the sunlight streaming through the windows, a gentle breeze blew the flimsy white curtains apart and he was able to see the sky and the tops of the trees outside for just a moment. It seemed that there was a message for him not to give up. Suddenly an idea hit him. All he could do was move one finger and he decided to make the best use of it. By moving this, he slowly developed a code of communication with his wife. He touched his wife’s arm with that finger, indicating to her that he wanted her to call the engineers again. Then he used the same method of tapping her arm to tell the engineers what to do. For 13 years Washington tapped out his instructions with his finger on his wife’s arm, until the bridge was finally completed. Today the spectacular Brooklyn Bridge stands in all its glory as a tribute to the triumph of one man’s indomitable spirit and his determination not to be defeated by circumstances. Bartemeus the blindman in today’s gospel shared such an indomitable spirit. (Fr. Bobby Jose).

2) “I who am blind can give one hint to those who see: Helen Keller, so brave and inspiring to us in her deafness and blindness, once wrote a magazine article entitled: “Three Days To See.” In that article she outlined what things she would like to see if she were granted just three days of sight. It was a powerful, thought-provoking article. On the first day, she said, she wanted to see friends. Day two she would spend seeing nature. The third day she would spend in her home city of New York, watching the busy city and the workday of the present. She concluded it with these words: “I who am blind can give one hint to those who see: Use your eyes as if tomorrow you were to be stricken blind.” As bad as blindness is in the 20th century, however, it was very much worse in Jesus’ day. Little wonder, then, that one of the signs of the coming of the Messiah was that the blind should receive their sight! When Jesus announced his Messiahship, he said: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me. He has sent me to proclaim … recovery of  sight to the blind “(Luke 4: 18). The story this morning is the healing of blind Bartimaeus

3) “Sit down at that table and write: ‘I will not run red lights’ 500 times!” In the traffic court of a large Midwestern City a young lady was brought before the judge to answer for a ticket given to her for running a red light. She explained to the judge that she was a school teacher and requested an immediate disposal of her case so she could get to school on time. All of a sudden the judge began grinning from ear to ear. The judge said: “So, you’re a schoolteacher, huh? Well, Ma’am, I finally get to realize one of my lifelong dreams. I’ve waited years for the opportunity to have schoolteacher in my court. Sit down at that table and write: ‘I will not run red lights’ 500 times!” {Phillips, Bob, World’s Greatest Collection of Clean Jokes, (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 1998) p. 19.} That joke, coupled with today’s Scripture, got me to thinking. Is there something in your life that you’ve always wanted but still haven’t realized yet? Do you have some unfulfilled dream or wish? Some longing that you’ve never acted upon? Bartimaeus, the character in the Scripture for today, certainly did.

4) “Free for what?” There is a story, believed to be true, about Abraham Lincoln, just before the close of the Civil War. Landowners in the Deep South were cutting their losses, liquidating their slaves before slavery was banned, and President Lincoln came upon a slave auction in progress. A young girl was placed upon the auction block, in front of all the bidders and gawkers. With defiance and disdain, the woman scanned the crowd, daring someone to start the bidding. Lincoln did – and when he won the bid and took possession of the young woman, she was belligerent. “What are you going to do with me?” she asked. “I’m going to set you free,” the president answered. “Set me free? What do you mean, ‘Set me free?’ Free for what?” Abraham Lincoln said, “Free. Free to do what you want to do. Free to go where you want to go.” The astonished woman replied, “Then I choose to go with you.” After a lifetime of yearning for freedom, the first thing this former slave chooses to do when she becomes free is to yield herself back under the authority of someone else. This is our call.           You and I are free; that’s what Jesus said. May we use our freedom to be his servants in a dark and hurting world, and reflect his glorious light to remove the spiritual blindness and darkness around us! May this begin today

5) “One minute you’re with God in Heaven and the next minute you’re in Georgia. Fred Craddock tells the story of serving in an area where all the local pastors rotated turns as chaplain at the small, thirty-bed area hospital. During one of his turns, a baby was born. He went to the hospital and encountered a whole family of folks gathered around the window of the nursery looking at the baby. He met the father who looked sort of worried and anxious and dumbstruck all at the same time. You know that new father look. The baby’s name was Elizabeth. As they looked at the baby, she started to squirm and scream. The father looked worried so Dr. Craddock said something about the baby not being sick but just clearing out her lungs like all newborns do. The father said, “Oh, I know she’s not sick. But she’s mad as the devil.” That took Dr. Craddock back a little and he asked, “Why’s she mad?” The father said, “Well, wouldn’t you be mad? One minute you’re with God in Heaven and the next minute you’re in Georgia.” Dr. Craddock asked, “You believe she was with God before she came here?” The father said, “Oh, yeah.” Then Craddock asked, “You think she’ll remember?” And he said, “Well, that’s up to her mother and me. It’s up to the Church. We’ve got to see that she remembers, ’cause if she forgets, she’s a goner.” [Craddock, Fred B. Craddock Stories, (Chalice Press: St. Louis, MO, 2001) pp. 126-1.] Bartimaeus never forgot whose he was or where he came from. Everyone else around him might have forgotten and treated him like an outcast, but he knew he still belonged to God. He remembered. Bartimaeus remembered and because he remembered, he had Faith enough to believe.

6) She needed an immediate blood transfusion to save her life. In 1949, a young soldier returned home from the war to find his mother desperately ill with kidney problems. She needed an immediate blood transfusion to save her life. Unfortunately, no one in the family shared the mother’s very rare blood type of AB negative, and blood banks didn’t exist in those days. The young soldier decided to gather his family together to say goodbye to his mother. As he was driving home from the hospital, he stopped to pick up another young soldier who was hitchhiking. The hitchhiker noticed the young man’s tears and asked him what was wrong. The young man blurted out the story of his dying mother. In silence, the hitchhiker took off his dog tags and held them out to the young man. On the tags were listed his blood type: AB negative. The mother received her transfusion that night and recovered fully. She lived another 47 years after that fateful night. Coincidence? We don’t know. This soldier and his family think the hitchhiker was an angel sent by God. All we know is that these coincidences happen quite often for people of Faith. Jesus heals. He healed Bartimaeus and he has healed millions of others–emotionally, spiritually, and, sometimes, physically.

7) “There is one other thing,” the driver said:  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, told a story on himself. He was waiting for a taxi outside the railway station in Paris. When the taxi pulled up, he put his suitcase in it and then got in the taxi. As he was about to tell the taxi-driver where he wanted to go, the driver asked him: “Where can I take you, Mr. Doyle?” Doyle was astounded. He asked the driver if he knew him by sight. The driver said: “No Sir, I have never seen you before.” Doyle was puzzled and asked him how he knew he was Arthur Conan Doyle. The driver replied: “This morning’s paper had a story that you were on vacation in Marseilles. This is the taxi-stand where people who return from Marseilles always wait. Your skin color tells me you have been on vacation. The ink-spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, and not French. Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduce that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.” Doyle exclaimed, “This is truly amazing. You are a real-life counter-part to my fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes.” “There is one other thing,” the driver said. “What is that?’ Doyle asked. “Your name is on the front of your suitcase.” [Parables, Etc. (Saratoga Press, P.O. Box 8, Platteville, CO, 80651; 970-785-2990), March.] It wasn’t the powers of deduction. It was the power of observation. That taxi driver’s lenses were clean enough to observe what was going on around him. He had the Proper Focus. The blind man in today’s Gospel had such a focus on Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah and his only healer.

8) Receiving begins with the courage to ask. In 1962, a 14‑year‑old boy by the name of Robert White wrote to President John F. Kennedy’s personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, requesting the President’s autograph. Within a few weeks Evelyn Lincoln honored the boy’s request by sending him a facsimile of Kennedy’s signature in the mail. That began a relationship of correspondence that lasted 33 years. Impressed with White’s passion for presidential history, Mrs. Lincoln gave him thousands of documents and mementos. She saved whatever could be saved (including even the doodles JFK drew during meetings). Today, Robert White, now 51, boasts the largest private collection of Kennedy memorabilia in the world, over 50,000 items. Receiving begins with the courage to ask. (Spirit, November 1999. Cited by Greg Asimakoupoulos in Leadership magazine). “You have not because you ask not.” It was Faith that caused Bartimaeus to seek Jesus, and it was Faith that caused him to speak up and ask for help.

9) Maybe he wept a few tears for joy. Mary Hollingsworth in her book, Fireside Stories, tells a wonderful story about a devoted follower of Christ in Romania named Richard Rumbren. Rumbren was arrested by the Communists many years ago for believing in Jesus. For fourteen years, he and some other Christians were kept in one little room some thirty feet below the ground. And in all those years all they had was one little light bulb. It was a horrible life. When he was finally released, Richard wrote a book titled Tortured for Christ to relate what he had gone through. And he began traveling about telling his story. But there was a problem. Richard Rumbren could no longer stand up. His feet were so damaged by torture that he had to sit down to speak. After the Wall came down in 1992, Rumbren got to go back to Romania. And they took him to show him the very first Christian bookstore in that nation. They were giving him the tour and showing him the books. Then the owner said, “Come down stairs and see all the wonderful things we have in the warehouse.” So Richard and his elderly wife went down the stairs, and when they got to the room, Richard was shocked. Then everyone was startled when Rumbren, this old man with battered feet, started dancing across the room. “Richard, what’s gotten into you?” asked the owner. But Rumbren just started laughing and said, “This is the room they kept me in for fourteen years.” No wonder Richard Rumbren was dancing! This was a place and an occasion of great significance for him. I wonder if Bartimaeus, the beggar who once stationed himself to receive alms just outside Jericho, ever returned to the place where he first regained his sight. If he did, I wonder if he danced a little jig. Maybe he wept a few tears for joy.

10) “This I did for you; what are you doing for me?” In the 1700’s there was a rather remarkable change in the life of an Austrian Count named Nikolaus Zinzendorf. Born into the nobility, Zinzendorf had recently completed his training in law, and was sent off to complete his education by touring the European cities. In an art gallery in Düsseldorf he came upon a masterly painting of Jesus. The eyes of Jesus seemed to penetrate the Count’s heart. Beneath the painting were these words: “This I did for you; what are you doing for me?” Count Zinzendorf was never able to forget those haunting words. Within a just a couple of years he retreated from public life to devote himself to a Christian community he had started for religious fugitives from Moravia. It was Zinzendorf’s writings and the Moravians themselves that influenced the reformer John Wesley to become a Christian leader. All because this Spiritual Insight had been awakened in him. That kind of Spiritual Insight is called Faith. [The Autoillustrator, P.O. Box 336517, Greeley, CO 80633 1-877-970-AUTO (2886).] Bartimaeus in today’s Gospel had it.

11) “And then that stupid letter arrived.” Two psychiatrists were talking and one asked the other, “What was your most difficult case?” His colleague answered, “Once I had a patient who lived in a pure fantasy world. He believed that a wildly rich uncle in South America was going to leave him a fortune. All day long he waited for a make-believe letter to arrive from a fictitious attorney. He never went out or did anything. He just sat around and waited.” “What was the result?” asked the first psychiatrist. “Well, it was an eight-year struggle but I finally cured him. And then that stupid letter arrived…” (2) Some people are afraid to Open Their Eyes. And some just keep their eyes closed no matter what. Sometimes we don’t Open Our Eyes because we’re afraid we’ll be disappointed in what we see. Bartimaeus in today’s Gospel was able to see his healer by the power of his Faith.

12) “Do you see what I see?” In our parish office there hangs a modernistic picture composed of a maze of colors and shapes. I know these sophisticated, modern, and abstract pictures are supposed to contain some profound artistic or philosophical message, but I have never been able to figure it out. It just looks like a jumbled mass of confusion. If there is a message there, I am blind to it. One day while I was standing in the office, waiting for the copier to warm up, one of the parents came to the office with her kindergarten-age boy, Adam. After greeting me he looked at the picture for a minute and said to me, “Do you see what I see?” “Do you see something in that picture? I sure don’t.” Adam looked at me with glee in his eye, “Father, can’t you see him? It’s Jesus hanging on the cross.” I stared as hard as I could, until my eyes actually hurt from staring. I wanted to believe Adam, that there actually was the image of Jesus hanging on the cross hidden somewhere in that mass of color and shapes, but I couldn’t see Jesus anywhere. “Adam, I’m sorry but I must be blind. You will have to help me see.” Directing his finger to a mass of color in the center of the picture, Adam said, “There, Father. Do you see what I see? There is Jesus, his face, his arms outstretched on the cross.” And then, like an epiphany, the image began to appear. Yes, there hidden somehow “behind” the colors and the shapes was the barely visible image of Jesus, hanging with arms outstretched on the cross. “It’s amazing, Adam. You have helped one blind pastor to see Jesus. Yes, I can see what you see, Adam.” A similar epiphany happens in today’s Gospel.

13) “I beat the Nazis, I beat them. I got my house.” Carlton Fletcher tells about his Uncle Walter who lived in Waldorf, Germany, during the Second World War. Uncle Walter was the descendant of Huguenots who had run away from France during the persecution of the Protestants in the 1600’s. During the war, he wanted to build himself a house, but all the necessary materials were reserved for the army. You couldn’t build a house for yourself. To a member of Germany’s middleclass, a house is most important. Building a house and getting out of an apartment is a priority. And nothing. not even a world war, would deter Uncle Walter, even if it meant building a house and hiding it under a junk pile. Here is how he did it. He bought a lot and loaned it out for people to throw junk on it. And then he would go there at night and build, layer by layer of brick, and cover it up with junk. When the end of the war came, there was a big pile of junk, but there was a house under it practically completed. All it needed was a roof. In 1946, when the war was over, he raised the roof like a madman. And he was jubilant. He said, “I beat the Nazis, I beat them. I got my house.” [A Celebration of American Folklore, (New York: Pantheon Books, 1982).] Don’t you admire the spirit of a man like that, to be able to build a house amid the rubble of life? I suspect Bartimaeus was such a man.

14) “We have a clerk’s job waiting for you . Norman Vincent Peale in one of his books tells about a young man named Walter Harter. Walter was a rather average young man with a slight limp who grew up in a farming community. Denied the opportunity for a college education due to his family’s financial circumstances, he set his heart on working in New York City. He went to the local telephone company and borrowed the New York City telephone directory. He looked up the listings of various stores in that great metropolis. Then he decided to concentrate on a well-known chain that had 393 stores in the New York City metropolitan area. He decided to write each of them by hand asking for a position. That was quite a project for a teenager with limited time and resources. He wrote fifteen a day. And he stuck to it day after day without a single reply. Finally, after writing them every one with absolutely no response, he scraped up a few dollars and headed for the big city. The first store he visited was a large one on Times Square. After listening to his story, the manager said to him that even if they had received his letter they would have sent it on to the personnel department of the chain. Walter didn’t even know what a personnel department was, but he followed the manager’s directions to a large building on Park Avenue. There he was taken to a stern-faced man sitting behind a large desk. This man seemed to be in charge of everything. After telling his story once more, Walter waited as the man behind the desk stared at him for what seemed like the longest time. Then the man smiled and rose to his feet. He pointed to a table holding stacks of letters. “Your applications are here,” he said, “all three hundred and ninety-three of them! We knew that someday you would walk in here. We have a clerk’s job waiting for you. You can start this afternoon.” [Norman Vincent Peale, Power of the Plus Factor (New York: Fawcett Crest, 1987).]
Bartimaeus had that same determined spirit. (L/15)

15) I bet you can see God out here! A man and his son went on a camping trip to the mountains. They hired an experienced guide, who brought them into the very heart of the great forest, and the beauty spots in the mountains that they themselves would never have found. The old guide was constantly pointing out the beauty and the wonders that the passer-by would never notice. The young lad was fascinated by the ability of the guide to see so much in all his surroundings. One day the lad was so impressed that he exclaimed “I bet you even see God out here.” The old guide smiled and replied “Son, as life goes on it’s getting more and more difficult for me to see anything but God out here.” ‘Lord that I might see…’
Jack McArdle from ‘And that’s the Gospel truth!’ (Fr. Botelho).

16) Transforming Vision: The musical ‘Les Miserables’ is based on the epic novel by Victor Hugo and dramatizes the adventures of Jean Valjean. After serving nineteen years in prison for stealing some bread to help his sister’s starving child, Jean is paroled. Unable to find work, Valjean steals from a priest, who in turn lies to save him from being sent back to prison. Given a second chance, Jean Valjean undergoes a moral and social transformation: he takes a new name, becomes wealthy, befriends a dying prostitute, raises her orphan and twice risks everything he’s gained to save others. -What the Lord did through the priest for Valjean is similar to what he did for Bartimaeus. Both Valjean and Bartimaeus were nobodies –social outcasts, but when Jesus entered their lives, they became somebodies – his disciples. Many are the times Jesus stopped to take notice of us and to transform us. When we were nobodies, he made us somebodies. When we were spiritually sick, he made us whole. When we were down he lifted us up. Can we in turn stop more often to ask people: “What can I do for you? How can I be of help?”
Albert Cylwicki in ‘His Word Resounds’ (Fr. Botelho).

17) The gift of sight: Helen Keller, who went blind and deaf at nineteen months, said: ‘One day I asked a friend of mine who had just returned from a long walk in the woods what she had seen. She replied, ‘Nothing in particular.’ ‘How was this possible?’ I asked myself, ‘when I, who cannot hear or see, find hundreds of things to interest me through mere touch. I feel the delicate shape and design of a leaf. I pass my hands lovingly over the rough bark of a pine tree. Occasionally, I place my hand quietly on a small tree, and if I’m lucky, feel the happy quiver of a bird in full song. ‘The greatest calamity that can befall people, is not that they should be born blind, but that they should have eyes, yet fail to see.’
Flor McCarthy in ‘New Sundays and Holy Day Liturgies’
(Fr. Botelho).

18) Give sight to all who are blind! There is a beautiful anecdote in the book, ‘When Bad Things Happen to Good People,’ written by Harold S. Kushner. There were two storekeepers who were bitter rivals. Their stores were across the street from each other. They would spend each day sitting at the doorway keeping track of each other’s business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, “God has sent me to teach you a lesson. He will give you anything you ask for but I want you to know that whatever you get your competitor across the street will get twice as much. If you like to be wealthy, the man across the street will be twice as rich.” The man frowned for a moment and said, “All right, my request is, strike me blind in one eye, so that the man across would be blind in both eyes.” – While the man in this story was praying to become blind, Bartimaeus in today’s gospel was crying out to Jesus to be healed of his blindness.
John Pichappilly in ‘The Table of the Word’ (Fr. Botelho).

19) At last! At last! Some years ago, there took place in England a most unusual wedding – a blind young man was to marry an extremely beautiful young lady. Very unfortunately, he had been blinded in an accident when he was just ten years old. But that did not deter him from going ahead and becoming an accomplished and successful university honour student. His name–William Dyke. It was at University that Bill met his bride-to-be, a young lady who was as beautiful as she was intelligent. So intense was their mutual love and so devoted their commitment that they decided to marry, even though Bill had a seemingly permanent and irreversible handicap. Shortly before the wedding, however, Bill met a very compassionate and highly skilled eye surgeon, one of Britain’s foremost, who voluntarily offered to operate on his eyes with a view to restoring his lost vision. And so, on the actual day of the wedding, the surgeon led the handsome groom to the altar with his eyes bandaged. As the bride approached her blindfolded groom the surgeon removed the bandages from Bill’s eyes. There were a few unsteady blinks as his eyes adjusted to the light around him. And then, for the first time, Bill looked into the beautiful face of his bride and was thrilled beyond words. Joyfully he exclaimed, “At last! At last!” Indeed his joy knew no bounds for he could actually see what, at one time, were no more than wishful thinking, even more an impossible dream.No wonder, Bartemeus decided to follow Jesus as an act of thanksgiving as soon as he got his eye-sight. James Valladares in ‘Your Words, O Lord, Are Spirit, and they Are Life’(Fr. Botelho).

20) Some People Are Never Satisfied: It is like the beggar in the movie “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.” Brian and his mother are walking through town and get hit up by a beggar. “Alms for an ex-leper. Alms for an ex-leper, please.” And Brian says: “What do you mean an ex-leper?” And the leper says: “Well I was cured” “Who cured you?” Brian says. And the leper says: “That Jesus fellow.” He says: “Now I have a hard time making a living, all I’ve ever known how to do is beg.” And Brian says: “Well why don’t you go back and ask him to make you a leper again?” And the leper says: “Well, I might not like that. Maybe he could just make me a leper during working hours or something.” So Brian just sighs, drops a coin into his cup and walks away. And the ex-leper looks into his cup and says: “A half a dinari! Look at this – he only gives me a half a dinari!” And Brian says: “Some people are never satisfied.” To which the leper replies: “That’s just what Jesus said!” Now Monty Python might be on to something. Jesus may not have said exactly these words but he certainly ran into people who were unappreciative. Blind Bartimaeus was not one of them. Upon receiving his sight he immediately began to follow. (Rev. Brett Blair) Fr. Kayala.

21) Napoleon meeting Tsar Alexander I:  History records a time when two people met each other on July 25, 1807, at a spot in the Tilsit River in Prussia. It was a dramatic meeting to discuss matters which carried serious consequences. In the middle of that stream Napoleon and Alexander I held a much publicized private conference. It was widely described in advance as a meeting which would “arrange the destinies of humankind.” Cannons boomed, and the shouts of thousands of soldiers gathered on each side of the river added to the noise as the conference began. There the Treaty of Tilsit was drawn up which allied Russia and Prussia with Napoleon. World history and millions of lives were forever changed. Bartimaeus had an opportunity to meet Christ, one on one, and took advantage of it. As a result, he was greatly blessed. You and I have the same privilege of meeting with Christ, one on one. Christ is calling you. Will you come? Such an encounter, for each one of us, is by far the most important in our lives, for it will arrange the destiny of your life. (Rev. Brett Blair) Fr. Kayala (http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/treaty-tilsit)

22) “I wish to be able to see my children eat off gold plates.”  According to a Jewish legend there was once a blind man who was married but had no children.  Although his life was hard, he never complained.  One day as the blind man was sitting by a river, the prophet Elijah came to him from heaven and said, “Even though your life has been hard, you never complained, and so God will grant you one wish.”  The poor man frowned.  “Only one   wish!” he said.  “I’m blind, I’m poor, and I’m childless.  How will just one wish can satisfy all my problems?  But give me twenty-four hours and I’ll think up a wish.”  He went home and told his wife what had happened.  She smiled at him and said, “Eat well and sleep soundly, for I know what you should wish.”  He came back the next morning and said to Elijah as he appeared again, “I wish to be able to see my children eat from gold plates.”  The wish was granted, and the man and his wife lived happily for the rest of their days.  Today’s Gospel presents another blind man whose wish was to regain his sight. Jesus restored sight to his eyes and to his spirit, and Bartimaeus immediately began to follow Jesus as a sighted, witnessing disciple.

 

“Scriptural Homilies” Cycle B (No 57) by Fr. Tony: akadavil@gmail.com (L/18)

Visit this website: http://frtonyshomilies.com/for previous Cycle B homilies, 141 Year of FaithAdult Faith Formation Lessons” (useful for RCIA classes too) & 196 “Question of the Week.” Contact me only at akadavil@gmail.com. Visit http://www.vaticannews.va/en/church.html for the Vatican version of this homily.

Fr. Anthony Kadavil, Chaplain, Sacred Heart Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1655 McGill Ave, Mobile, AL 36604.