Weekly Homily from Fr Jim Hogan, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, October 25, 2015

•Jeremiah 31: 7-9 + Hebrews 5: 1-6 + Mark 10: 46 -52•

Weekly Scripture Readings:30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

What do you want me to do for you?  In preparing this homily I noticed that in Mark’s gospel, Jesus asks that question twice. He asks it first in response to the misguided ambition of James and John. Then he asks it in response to the favor requested by the blind Bartimaeus.

I suggest the same question is directed to us as well. What do you want me to do for you?  Listening to that question led me to recognize my own blindness. In his book, “Morning Offering”, John O’Donohue includes this prayer:

May my mind come alive today,

to the invisible geography that invites me to new frontiers,

… and risk being disturbed and changed.

That is my response to the question.

May my mind come alive today,

to the invisible geography that invites me to new frontiers,

… and risk being disturbed and changed.

Bartimaeus was a beggar because he was blind.  Whether blind from birth or as a result of an accident makes little difference.  His disability precluded his filling a responsible role in society.

When Bartimaeus heard Jesus call his name, he leapt up, leaving behind his garb.  He stood before Jesus in total vulnerability.  Blindness is not always or only a physical condition.  It also can be a spiritual condition.

This is what I mean.  The story of Bartimaeus awakened me to my current blindness.

Jesus calls us to share an extraordinary vision of an equal humanity.  Paul embraced that vision and called us beyond sexism and racism when he wrote to the church in Galatia:

For as many of you as were baptized in Christ there is

no such thing as Jew or Gentile, no such thing as slave or free,

no such thing as male or female.

The 2015 October session of the Synod of Bishops in Rome was focused on marriage and family issues.  It ended yesterday.  I thought the Synod would address our need for trained pastor/leaders for our Eucharistic Assemblies.  It did not.  Our bishops are trying to resolve this crisis by importing male, celibate priests from other parts of the world.  I think that is a huge mistake.  It perpetuates the clerical caste system.

I often have been asked, “What do you think about the ordination of women?” My typical response is “we ought not do so until we rid the church of the ‘clericalism’ that burdens us.”

My blindness led me to disregard or forget the vision set before us by Jesus of Nazareth.  We all “all of us” are baptized and appointed priests and prophets. In every parish or faith community there are holy baptized, confirmed, educated people capable of being called to the Ministry of Service.  I emphasize the notion of “being called.”  The Ministry of Service is a vocation.  I do not choose it.  It chooses me.  It is the responsibility of the church to call forth those who are qualified to serve: men and women, married and celibate.  To avoid a new form of clericalism, I think their service be for a limited period of time and subject to periodic review and evaluation.

The good news here is that if I like Bartimaeus am open to Jesus and willing to leave my garb behind, my blindness can be overcome.  So here is my response to his question, What do you want me to do for you?  My response is this:

Free “my mind to come alive today to the invisible geography

that invites me to new frontiers.”

Help me “risk being disturbed and changed.”

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