(30th Ordinary Sunday: Jeremiah 31:7-9; Hebrews 5:1-6; Mark 10:46-52)
Today’s story of blind Bartimaeus is an eloquent reminder of the place for joy in the Christian life. As soon as he heard that Jesus was passing by, a joyful transformation took place within him, caused by faith and hope. He prayed well, at the top of his voice!
It can be difficult to keep a strong positive and happy disposition during prayer. Of course, we should not pretend to be happy when we are not. But in prayer we can make an effort to set aside momentarily our fears and anxieties—like Bartimaeus throwing aside his cloak—so as to find the wellspring of joy in our faith and bring it to our worship.
Our Lady of La Salette came and appeared to the two children at a place where there was not much in the way of joy. Her people had not turned to the Lord in their need, but left it to “a few elderly women” to pray and go to Mass. Although Mary showed herself as the Weeping Mother, her purpose was to point the way out of sadness and despair.
Today’s Psalm is filled with expressions of joy. It reflects the return from exile. We find the same in the first reading: “Shout with joy for Jacob, exult at the head of the nations; proclaim your praise and say: The Lord has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel.”
We are not an exile people, but at times we feel lost. In those moments, the worst thing we can do is to isolate ourselves from our faith and the worshipping community, where Jesus is our great High Priest and gives himself to us as our Bread of Life.
The psalmist says, “Those that sow in tears shall reap rejoicing... They shall come back rejoicing, carrying their sheaves.” Our Lady’s tears at La Salette hopefully lead us to this place of rejoicing as we reap the harvest of the promises she made.
And again, “The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad indeed.” We could all say the same, if only we would stop to reflect. We can compose our own Psalm of thankful praise, and should recite it often.
And if the opportunity presents itself, what is to prevent us from sharing it with those around us? Joy is infectious. Let us spread it where we can.
Wayne Vanasse, and Fr. René Butler, M.S.