Three sacraments cannot be repeated. Baptism, confirmation and orders. Yes, I can hear you say that is not correct. You can be baptised many times. It depends on what group you wish to belong to. I was baptised or christened Uniting church then I became a Mormon and now I want to become a catholic. Regardless of what some people have done a person can only be validly baptised once. Baptism is like being born. It can only happen once.
The reason it can only happen once is that only once does God choose us and make us members of the body of Christ. Our response to the divine choice may be strong or weak but nothing we can do can make God revoke the divine connection made with us. In the same way confirmation seals that call and choice and God breathes into us the gifts of the spirit so that we have all that we need to make Christ known at all times and in all places. Likewise with the men who are ordained priests. Even if they decide after ordination not to continue ministering as priests and are permitted by the Pope to live as members of the lay faithful and not be bound by the obligations they took on when they were ordained, in certain circumstances if called upon by someone in need they can still act as priests. Once again God’s call remains active even if for whatever reason the individual priest decides not to live out that call,
God’s action is where we always need to start when we sit and think about the world and our lives. When we do that we are looking at reality with eyes wide open. The son of Timaeus in the gospel we just listened to had once been able to see but then somehow had lost his sight. In days before social welfare in the way we know and take for granted he was reduced to sitting by the roadside and begging for assistance from those passing by. His way of looking at the world had changed dramatically. No longer could he do whatever work he had done before. No longer could see the faces of his wife and children and the others he loved. Maybe he had been rejected by some as a man cursed by God. This was one way of explaining disasters of this kind: the victim must have brought it on him or herself “Who sinned, this man or his parents” as Jesus was asked on one occasion.
Bartimaeus has heard about Jesus from Nazareth from talking to other travellers. He has heard about his preaching and miracles. This is a God-given opportunity and he is not going to let it go by. Despite the efforts of those with Jesus to silence him he persists and finally gains the attention of Jesus.
Once again we are taken onto God’s side of human activity. For us to be aware that God is acting in what we receive Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wants. Jesus does not presume that it is sight he wants. He asks and Bartimaeus replies: Let me see again. And he does see again but the first person he sees with his new sight is Jesus himself, the beloved Son of the Father. The embodiment of the one the prophet Jeremiah foretold would come.
The life of Bartimaeus changes and he follows Jesus. He becomes a disciple and will constantly tell others what can happen to them if you just ask. What is that we long to have or have again? What hinders our development and growth? What answer shall we give when Jesus asks: what do you want me to do for you?
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Nov 2, 2015||30th Sunday in Ordinary Time 25.10.2015||Listen||Download|