Master, correct my vision, help me to see!

Friends the Gospel of Bartimaeus has so many implications for the Christian life.  What made him so unique was that he saw himself rightly and he saw Jesus for who he is.  So he was able to ask wholeheartedly and with pure intentions say: Master I want to see! 

Can we see?  Of course we can see the physical world, but can we see spiritual? I think if we are honest with ourselves we all can have a false sense of security in our own vision. We may be able to see the physical reality of the world, but do we see the world through the lens of faith, through God’s eyes?  “Our problem is that we think we already see… [So], we first need to be healed of the illness of worldly vision.”

We need to be healed of worldly vision… Worldly vision obscures how we see God, other people, and ourselves.  We are invited to pray with Bartimaeus, “Master, I too want to see!” 

How do we see God? Whenever suffering or bad things happen in this world, it can become a moment where we begin to wonder, “God do you really care.”  Unfortunately, these moments can also lead us to doubt God’s existence and God’s love for each of us.  Sometimes, we even blame God for these terrible things.  “God why did you give me cancer?”  “God why did you do this to me?”  Other times, people around us encourage us in this… “Aren’t you upset with God for all of these horrible things he has done to you?”  It’s interesting… Its so easy for us to blame God for our problems, but its so hard for us to thank God for our blessings… This way of looking at God is what needs correction. We need corrected vision. 

But I think we would all admit that it is so inspiring to meet someone who has faith and trust in God in the midst of great suffering? Tyler Trent and Scot Van Pelt (ESPN anchor) had an interview that was inspiring. SVP: Tyler I believe wholeheartedly that you will feel our prayers. God will help you! Tyler Trent, the Purdue super fan who has terminal cancer, is proclaiming the Gospel with his faith and trust in God in the midst of his suffering.  Tyler sees God rightly. Master we want to see…

How do we see others?  There are many examples in which we do not see others rightly.  We can see others as less than us, or as means to an end,  or as an object.  Here’s one example of how we have obstructed vision with others.  Think of the person we just don’t like.  What’s the first thought that comes into our minds? My guess is most of us didnt think, “that person is a beloved son/daughter of God…” Don’t we treat people differently based on who they know?  It happens all the time (and not for the best of reasons).  But I wonder, how different this world would be if we looked at each other and first saw a child of God, and not that person that we dislike so much… Master I want to see…

How do we see ourselves?  This is a big one.  Consider our sinfulness.  So many of us when we ask for God’s mercy we struggle to receive His love?  Why?  Because we don’t see what he sees.  We see our sins, our imperfections, and so we are literally blind to God’s love in our lives.  God how could you love this?!?  And yet, our imperfections and sins can lead us into a deeper appreciation of God’s love.  When we see ourselves rightly, all of our weaknesses, imperfections together with our gifts and strengths, we are able to see that we are lovable.  We are able to see that we are precious in God’s eyes.  Master we  want to see! 

So our prayer this weekend is to share in the the prayer of Bartimaeus the blind man.  Master, I want to see.  Help me to see this world with your eyes.  Master, heal me from worldly vision.

In Christ’s love,

Fr. Stephen

This is us

This is us!

The story of the rich young man in our Gospel is one that we are familiar, but also one that I think many of us assume isn’t about us… We give this Gospel a special place for religious; those who make vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.  And so this Gospel seems like it’s for them.  Turn away from the pleasures of this world, for your own will, and from your wealth, and follow God with all your heart… This is a great temptation, to think its only for them, and not for us…

But this Gospel isn’t just for us, it is us. This is us!

The discovery of our own story in this Gospel scene is found in the small details.  A young man ran up… This young man was somebody who loved his faith.  He wanted to go deeper.  He wants to know God more and to love God more.  He wants for all eternity to be with God.  This is us… So many of us are trying to grow in our faith.  We read Christian books, we read scripture, we listen to Christian music or Christian podcasts, all for the same reason.  Because we want to know how to live our life as a Christian… We too want eternal life.  We too run to Jesus and ask just as the young man did, Good Teacher what must I do to gain eternal life? This is us

Moments later, there is a great change in the young man… Jesus has told him that he must keep the commandments, love God and love neighbor… Now experiencing doubt, anxiety, and fear, he responds, “but teacher I have done what you said, I have kept the commandments…” What more must I really do, I have done all these… We do the same… I go to mass.  I pray.  I try to treat people well.  I struggle with normal human things, but I haven’t done anything that bad. This is us

Then Jesus looked at him, loved him, and said,  You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor. What follows is the saddest moment in all of the Scriptures… The young looks down becomes sad and walks away.  Jesus has just asked him to get rid of that one thing he loves the most… That one thing that competes with his love for God, that is his love for wealth.  Isn’t this us? 

For all of us, there is something in our lives that we hold on to.  Something that we grasp to!  Something, that we do not want to let go of.  That one thing could be wealth, it could be pleasure, it could be our desire for control over own lives, it could be our desire for honor… for attention… And yet, in order for us to grow closer to our Lord, we have to let go of these things in order to receive eternal friendship with God… We all do this.  We all are the rich young man.  This is us.

The young man looked down and walked away.  He looked down.  He looked down and so he missed that Jesus looked him, loved him, and then challenged him.  He missed Jesus’ love for him as he challenged the young man to purify his love for God.

Friends, we are called to look up.  We are called to look up at Jesus.  Our second reading reminds us that the Word of God penetrates our hearts. The Word of God is how we come into contact, person to person with Jesus Christ.  The Word of God is living and effective.  Jesus is the Word of God.  And to open our ears and our hearts to listen to the Word is like standing before Jesus, naked and exposed.  To stand before Jesus like this is to allow him to see everything that we are.   Jesus sees us and knows us, more intimately, and better than we could ever know ourselves… He knows our heart, he knows what we love the most, and he knows our weaknesses and strengths.  He knows everything.

Friends, we are called to stand before the Lord naked and exposed, vulnerable, letting him see us as we are.  We are called to allow Jesus to point out how our love for him can be purified.  What is holding us back?  For when we do, we will echo these words from our first reading; once I preferred wealth, power, pleasure, and honor to God, but now, I prefer God over power, and [consider] riches nothing in comparison with [my relationship with God].

This Gospel is us.  Jesus looks at you.  Jesus loves you.  And Jesus invites you to let go of “that thing” to fall more in love with him.  This is us.


In Christ’s love and Friendship,

Fr. Stephen