I am blessed to have many faithful Catholics supporting and praying for me on my faith journey as an ordained priest. Many past and present parishioners have shared their joys, sorrows and challenges with me with confidence and candor that allows me to grow as a shepherd for Christ and his people. Thank you, and thanks to all those who celebrated with me this past Saturday and Sunday: Clergy Appreciation Month. I thank those who have given me inspirational cards, gifts, and prayers. You are in my prayers and sacrifices.
In today‟s second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews we read: “Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people.” Hb. 5:1-3.
I can relate to the fact that I am beset with many “weaknesses”, and so I need Jesus Christ and his power to enlighten and forgive my “ignorant and erring” ways. I go to confession monthly (as recommended by our bishops) and I enjoy sharing God‟s divine mercy with others, especially in the Sacrament of Confession.
In today‟s Gospel we read how the blind man Bartimaeus cried out to Jesus, and some tried to stop him. But he persisted until Jesus called him to himself through his disciples. Bartimaeus: “threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus who asked, „What do you want me to do for you?‟ The blind man replied to him, „Master, I want to see.‟ Jesus told him, „Go your way; your faith has saved you.‟ Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.”
That should be our prayer, too: “Master, I want to see”, for when Jesus Christ enlightens our blind spots – our “ignorant and erring” ways – we can deepen our faith and follow Jesus more closely like Bartimaeus.
Sometimes people are afraid to know the truth, because they will have to change their ways or grow in charity, but we should hear the truth, and be like those in today‟s Gospel that say to the blind Bartimaeus, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” This is a summary of our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church.
On this World Mission Sunday, let us rejoice together that Jesus Christ has enlightened and forgiven us through the Sacrament of Baptism, and continues to do so through his Gospel and the other sacraments, especially when we make a good confession. Even venial sins can be forgiven in the worthy reception of Holy Communion when we truly repent of them.
Let us rejoice that our Archdiocesan Mission in San Felix, Venezuela, is celebrating its 50th anniversary of bringing Jesus Christ and his seven sacraments to the approximately 60,000 Catholics living there. This partnership has created many bonds of family and friendship, and I was honored to have served among them for about four years, 2008-2011.
The economic hardship afflicting many people in that country, except for the wealthy, is exacerbated by the COVID -19 epidemic and the socialist government that has too many blind spots to enumerate. Let us pray for
great enlightenment, a great illumination of con-science and outpouring of charity from God that all of us might take courage and follow Jesus Christ in his Catholic Church more closely.
Peace in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Fr. Thomas McCabe