John's Jottings

30th Sunday in OT 2018

I Want to See


I sat down this afternoon and decided to rewrite my homily considering the bombs sent and the people shot in the synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. I could not stand up here and imagine it did not happen and not say anything.

What happened is wrong and sinful. I challenge all of you, that includes me, to look at your prejudices and we all have them. If you think that it is ok to commit violence against people you disagree with in politics and verbal violence included, you have sinned. If you think that Jews are the problem in the world as the Nazis or skinheads, Klu Klux Klan or militant Muslims do or maybe you have a nicer approach to your prejudice, you would never hurt a Jew, but …. You have sinned. You need to call to Jesus to have pity on you and to ask Him to cure your blindness. My heart goes out to the families in the Tree of Life Synagogue because of a man’s blindness. Son of David, have mercy on us.

So many of us read about incidents like these, but cannot see what is going on, because we are so comfortable in our safe homes and communities, just a reminder, it could happen in our church. But that is not what I am worried about, maybe a little, but it is more about our minds and souls I am worried about. This is a time we need to be reminded that there is no such thing as a private sin or a secret sin. You know the kind; I look at porn my parents/my wife will never find out. I’m having an affair, and no one will ever find out. I drink every night and sometimes at lunch, it never affects my work or my relationship with my family. I verbally and physically abuse my wife/husband, but she/he deserves it, and no one will ever really know about it. My taxes, hmmm so I hid a few things no one will find out. I lied. No one will ever find out. Let me reiterate there is no such thing as a private sin, or secret sin. Son of David have mercy on us.

A very long time ago I read a creation story and I cannot remember who wrote it, but it had to do with a world of oceans and lily pads and this is my take on it:

In the beginning we were created on an ocean with many big lily pads to live on and in the beginning, it was a calm ocean and people on the lily pads would all bump gently into each other and talk and share their lives. And then one horrible day the evil one emerged out of the water as a beautiful water serpent, sleek and strong with exquisitely colored scales, and a melodious voice. He swam from pad to pad telling lies about all “the other” lily pad people. When God created these first people, one of the promises they made to Him was they would not harm or kill any of their brothers and sisters. But soon anger, resentment, and jealousy arose in their hearts toward “other” pad people because of the lies the serpent told. The serpent brought up from the bottom of the ocean rocks telling the pad people they would need them to protect themselves from the “others”. One day, in total disobedience to God, they sunk a lily pad full of their brothers and sisters, many died. The ones who survived swam to other pads and told others what happened and they discussed how to defend themselves and as they said that, the serpent appeared looking sleek and strong and so in charge with stones from the bottom of the ocean, telling them “you must defend yourselves.” More stones were thrown, and the stones got larger and larger because the fear got larger and larger. As each stone was thrown it would create a wave and then a wave on a wave and before long even the places far away from the war felt the effects of the stones because the whole ocean world was now churning as if a hurricane had hit them. Pads were sunk with little care of who was washed away in the chaos. Some remembered the original story of creation and remembered that God wanted a peaceful ocean and they cried out “God, king of the ocean, have mercy on us, for we are drowning. God always answers the cry of the poor. Son of David, have mercy on us.

All our sins are the rocks thrown into the ocean. Some sins create larger waves but each sin on top of sin is the same, creating chaos, no matter if anyone sees the sin or not. So, how do we bring calm back into the world? We have all we need to do that, but so many are blind to the answer, so many are made blind by their personal sin, the sins that were imposed on them by others as children. The lies whispered in our hearts, the lies online shouting louder than the truth. The darkness of lies about others who are not “you”. The greed and pride that corrupts and darkens our hearts. All sin, if not contained, leads to violence of some kind, creating chaos in the world. Son of David, have mercy on us.

Bartimaeus in todays Gospel is a hero to me, he heard and recognized the voice of Jesus and all he had around him was darkness and poverty. He called out and when many rebuked him he called out the more and even louder so as not to be missed, he knew the answer to his dilemma, he knew Jesus was the One the Prophets had foretold, the Messiah, the Son of David and it was foretold that he would heal the blind. When Jesus stopped and called him out he ran to Jesus, leaving the only thing he owned, his cloak behind, going to Jesus with nothing but hope and faith. Jesus askes Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” he replied, “Master, I want to see.” Son of David, have mercy on me.

We as church, the people of God, can also be blind and now it the time to call out to our God. We need to see the truth of our actions, our prejudices, our hatreds, our fears that make us act outside of the truth, leading us into the darkness were the evil one has control. We, in this dark world, must take responsibility for our part in pulling the curtain across the light of Christ. Can we change people who hold such hatred and animosity toward others, that the only option is to kill, maybe at times, maybe not, but neither can we be a part of that hatred and we can only do that if we have a life centered in prayer, the sacraments, living a holy life, not just a nice life, but a holy life rooted in Scripture, and do as my hero Bart does, call out to the Son of David to have mercy on us, beg to see and leave everything else behind to do that. When our blindness lifts we are welcome to go on our way but as Bart does he follows Jesus. Each person who is cured of the blindness of their sins brings peace to the chaos for fewer rocks are thrown, they bring the healer into the world bringing light into the darkness of hopelessness. At times like these when I am so sad at the world around us, because it feels there are so few people healing the blindness and so I beg you, now, it is urgent, call out to God, call out, Son of David, have mercy on me. Run to Jesus begging I want to see.


God Bless all of you,

Fr. John, O.S.B.


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