by Fr Francis Onyango IMC
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Psalm 126:1-6 (R. cf. 3)
THEME: Called back to the fold
In our first reading today we see God bringing his people back to the fold. The Lord says: “I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her who is in travail together; a great company they shall return here.” Similarly in the gospel, the Lord brings back to the fold Bartimaeus the blind beggar. He heard that Jesus was passing by and he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard his voice, He stopped and said, “Call him!” The Lord called him from his state of desperation back to the fold and when the Lord cured him, he did not walk away but joined the company and followed him on the way.
It is interesting how the crowd tried so hard to silence Bartimaeus. They rebuked him, they shouted at him to be silent. For some, he was nothing but an embarrassment, someone that should never have caught the attention of the Lord; for others, he was a good for nothing beggar that did not deserve the mercy of the Lord; a person whose chapter had been closed. However, with a deep faith and conviction, he went against the pleas from the crowd and shouted even louder until the Lord heard him. And when he did, he only asked him one question: “What do you want me to do for you?” In reply he said; “Master, let me receive my sight.” With an assurance the Lord said, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Many of us have been condemned to our little corners of misery where we have been silenced by the crowd. We have been told that we can’t be helped; that our situation is impossible; that we are an embarrassment; that we can’t be forgiven; that we can’t be loved; that we can’t do it, and we have believed it! We have been left desperate, angry, confused, lonely, ashamed and wounded. But the Lord says today “I want you back to the fold.” He says; ‘with weeping they shall come and with consolations I will lead them back.’
The lord wants us back; it doesn’t matter what people have said about us and how they have tried to shut us down, the Lord just wants us to keep calling and calling until he hears our voice. Remember that sometimes we give up not because we can’t make it, but because we have given the crowd power over us. Had Bartimaeus listened to the threat of the crowd, he would have missed his chance of healing. A bad crowd can turn a person from being a soldier of Christ to a bench warmer at church; it can change your focus from your potentiality to your lack of it or from your possible victory to a definite failure. Be careful what crowd you listen to; a good crowd can build a person but a bad crowd can only destroy. A good crowd will tell you to take heart and move on to the master that is calling you. Therefore, you must choose the crowd that you want to belong to. Do not allow the crowd to choose you. What great deeds the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad. Amen!