Above photograph: thanks to Matt Botsford
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reflection on the Gospel-30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Mark 10:46-52)
What is it that we fail to see? Today’s gospel reading brings to closure a long section of Mark’s gospel that focuses on the journey of Jesus and his disciples from Caesarea Philippi in the north to Jericho in the south. Jericho is the final staging point in the journey to Jerusalem where the final act of the gospel drama will be played out. This section of the gospel (8:27-10:52) is prefaced by the story of a blind man who comes to sight in stages. It ends with the story of another blind man, Bartimaeus, who comes from blindness to sight, from insight to greater insight, and who joins Jesus on the journey to Jerusalem. On the intervening journey, Jesus endeavours to lead the Twelve out of their metaphorical blindness into an understanding of what it means to follow a suffering messiah. They remain for some time in their blindness, as subsequent events will demonstrate.
The narrator creates an impression of urgency at this point in Mark’s gospel. “They” come to Jericho and then leave. The intervention of Bartimaeus, who tries to attract the attention of Jesus by calling out from the roadside, threatens to delay the journey. When he cries out for “mercy”, many try, without success, to silence him. The “many” are people in the crowd who neither share the depth of Bartimaeus’ faith nor grasp the nature of Jesus’ mission of gathering in “the remnant of Israel, among them the blind and the lame” (Jeremiah 31:8). Those who try to silence Bartimaeus are a bit like the family of Jesus who tried to protect him from himself (Mark 3:31).
When it is clear that the perception of the “many” is not shared by Jesus who tells them to “call him”, we have an almost comical scene in which they do a complete about-face. It seems they want to please the authority figure no matter what. Bartimaeus offers a stark contrast to these people. He knows that Jesus has the power to bring the mercy of God into his life and the lives of those who wait by the roadside with faith in their hearts. He receives the assurance from Jesus that his faith has made him well or, more literally, has “saved him”. Having heard the “call”, he follows Jesus “on the way”, the journey of faith.
At times we, like Bartimaeus, are aware of our blindness and wait desperately by the roadside for the right person or circumstances to come along and give us the heart to rise up and live the journey of faith. At times, we are like the “many” who think we know what is best for others and who try to silence the voices of those who interfere with our plans. At other times, we, like Jesus of Nazareth, respond to the cries for mercy and stretch out our hands to gather in those whose disabilities might otherwise leave them by the side of the road in the journey of life.
Veronica Lawson RSM
The Pope's prayer intention - October 2021
Caring Group to help our community
They'll know we are Christians by our love. And one way we can show our Christian love is to care for one another, especially in times of need or distress.
Several people have already volunteered their services to start the Group but we need more. We also need to know if there is anyone who needs help from the Caring Group. So, if you would like to be a volunteer who may be called upon from time to time please contact Glenis Clapham (ph: 09 536 6305) or Kathie McNabney (ph: 09 530 8130). If you need some help or know of someone from our community who needs help please let Glenis or Kathie know.
Have you considered joining the parish planned giving programme? No more searching through your purse or wallet at collection time. You will be provided with a set of envelopes which need only be placed in the basket with your donation inside. And best of all at the end of each tax year you will receive a statement of your contributions so you can make a claim on your tax return.
Why not join up now. Contact the parish office or follow the link below for further information. Ph 5348710
How giving a little can mean a lot
‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
There are always people in need, sometimes long term, sometimes short term, sometimes in an emergency. The parish Food Bank, run by the Howick branch of the SVDP society, helps many families who find themselves in need of basic food items. Through supporting this we are putting into action the Church's principles of Social Justice: Human Dignity, Preferential Option for the Poor, the Common Good, Solidarity, Subsidiarity, Stewardship and Participation.
When you come to Mass at Beachlands try to bring one food item, a packet or can that can be added to the Food Bank, and place it in the basket on the table when you come in.
Giving a little can mean such a lot.
Please continue to keep Eileen Gallagher, Allan Saunders, Francis McNabney, Martin Saunders and the members of our community in your prayers.
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