30th Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

Recently, I was watching a TV series called “A Football Life.”  The episode was telling the story of one of the best and meanest football player from the 1990’s.  His name is Chris Spielman.  When he played he was described as playing like a wild animal, but off the field it was another story.  He was quiet, a loving husband and father and a devout Christian.  He had to take a full season off due to a neck injury and was training hard to come back.  One day he was driving with his wife, Stephanie, when they got a call from her doctor who told them that Stephanie had advanced breast cancer.  Chris pulled over, punched the steering wheel and shouted, “First my neck injury and now this!  Why is this happening to us?”  He would never forget what his wife said to him then, even though she had just been diagnosed with life-threatening cancer.  She looked at him and said, “How can you say such a thing after all the blessings we have received?”  In the end, listening to his wife, Chris decided to retire from football and care for his wife.  In the reactions of Chris and Stephanie we’re given a clear portrayal of the different understandings we can have of God.  For Chris, God seems to give suffering to people for some mysterious reason.  Chris’ God was a mean God.  On the other hand, Stephanie’s God was a gentle and loving God.  Chris’ God seemed not to care when his children suffered, while Stephanie’s God would never abandon those going through bad times.  Through most of us would say Stephanie’s God is really God, I wonder if in our hearts, we really think that Chris got it right and Stephanie got it wrong?  How often do we feel abandoned or neglected by God?  How often do we think that God simply doesn’t care?  In the story of Bartimaeus, we have our answer.  

In the Gospel we can see Bartimaeus sitting by the roadside in Jericho.  The Lord Jesus, the Messiah, is walking past with a large crowd.  Bartimaeus yells out for mercy, for healing.  Many in the crowd told him to be quiet!  For many, the Messiah was not here for a single, small act of mercy, but for the establishment of an earthly kingdom.  In effect the crowd was telling Barimaeus, “not to trouble the Lord with something as trivial as your eyesight.”  But the God that Stephanie knows, and we are coming to know, is not a God who cares little for us.  Rather, each of us is everything to God.  And so the Lord stops the crowd and says “call him here” and asks what he may do for Batimaeus.  The Lord restores his sight, saying “Go, your faith has made you well.”  In Christ do we see a God who is blind to our suffering, to our situations?  In Christ, do we see a God who doesn’t care?  In truth, we see a God who stops everything for the well-being of Bartimaeus and for us.  When we refuse the Father’s love within our hearts, like Bartimaeus, we are unwell.  If his blindness limited the living of his life, so too does the lack of trust in the Father’s love limit our living.  Our hearts feel less than full and more broken.  We see, however, the truth.  In Christ, we see a God who cares.  We see a God who does not abandon.  We see a God who does not neglect.  We see a God who loves no matter if others object.  And so we rejoice!  And so we give praise!  And so we profess our faith, proclaiming “I believe in God, the Father Almighty!”  As life feels like it’s going past us, let us be like Bartimaeus, let us say “Son of David, have mercy on me!”   The Lord hers and the Lord comes and from his heart he saying “What do you want me to do for you?”    And we say, “Fill me with your love.”  He says, “Go, your faith has made you well.”  And we rejoice.

God Bless, and Take Care!

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Weekly Parish Bulletin251.34 KB

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