30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
October 24, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.









Almighty ever-living God,
increase our faith, hope and charity,
and make us love what you command,
so that we may merit what you promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

First Reading Jer 31:7-9

Thus says the LORD:
Shout with joy for Jacob,
exult at the head of the nations;
proclaim your praise and say:
The LORD has delivered his people,
the remnant of Israel.
Behold, I will bring them back
from the land of the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the world,
with the blind and the lame in their midst,
the mothers and those with child;
they shall return as an immense throng.
They departed in tears,
but I will console them and guide them;
I will lead them to brooks of water,
on a level road, so that none shall stumble.
For I am a father to Israel,
Ephraim is my first-born.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 126:1-2,2-3,4-5,6

R/. The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.

When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.

Then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.

Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.

Second Reading Heb 5:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
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.
No one takes this honor upon himself
but only when called by God,
just as Aaron was.
In the same way,
it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest,
but rather the one who said to him:
You are my son:
this day I have begotten you;
just as he says in another place:
You are a priest forever
according to the order of Melchizedek.

Alleluia Cf. 2 Tm 1:10

Gospel Mk 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,
Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,
sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
"Jesus, son of David, have pity on me."
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.
But he kept calling out all the more,
"Son of David, have pity on me."
Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."
So they called the blind man, saying to him,
"Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you."
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, "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.

Reflection Questions

  1. How have you experienced the consolation and guidance of the Lord?
  2. Do you find it difficult to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring?
  3. What is it you want the Lord to do for you?

Catena Nova

 “The commandment of the Lord shines clearly, enlightening the eyes.” Receive Christ, receive power to see, receive your light, “that you may plainly recognize both God and humanity.” Unfailing light has penetrated everywhere, and sunset has turned into dawn.  “More delightful than gold and precious stones, more desirable than honey and the honeycomb,” is the Word that has enlightened us.  How could he not be desirable, he who illumined minds buried in darkness, and endowed with clear vision “the light-bringing eyes” of the soul?... Let us open ourselves to the light, then, and so to God. Let us open ourselves to the light, and become disciples of the Lord.... Let us, then, shake off forgetfulness of truth, shake off the mist of ignorance and darkness that dims our eyes, and contemplate the true God, after first raising this song of praise to him: “All hail, O Light!” For upon us, buried in darkness, imprisoned in the shadow of death, a heavenly light has shone, a light of a clarity surpassing the sun’s, and of a sweetness exceeding any this earthly life can offer. That light is eternal life, and those who receive it live. Night, on the other hand, is afraid of the light, and melting away in terror gives place to the day of the Lord. Unfailing light has penetrated everywhere, and sunset has turned into dawn. This is the meaning of the new creation; for the Sun of Righteousness, pursuing his course through the universe, visits all alike, in imitation of his Father, “who makes his sun rise upon all,” and bedews everyone with his truth. He it is who has changed sunset into dawn and death into life by his crucifixion; he it is who has snatched the human race from perdition and exalted it to the skies. Transplanting what was corruptible to make it incorruptible, transforming earth into heaven, he, God’s gardener, points the way to prosperity, prompts his people to good works, “reminds them how to live” according to the truth, and bestows on us the truly great and divine heritage of the Father, which cannot be taken away from us. He deifies us by his heavenly teaching, instilling his laws into our minds, and writing them on our hearts. What are the laws he prescribes? That all, be they of high estate or low, shall know God. “And I will be merciful to them,” God says, “and I will remember their sin no more.” Let us accept the laws of life, let us obey God’s promptings. Let us learn to know him, so that he may be merciful to us. Although he stands in no need of it, let us pay God our debt of gratitude in willing obedience as a rent, so to speak, which we owe him for our lodging here below (St. Clement of Alexandria).

Since we know that the sun shines everywhere in the course of a day, can we doubt that the splendor of God’s glory and the image of God’s being shines everywhere? What could the Word of God, the eternal splendor of God’s being, not penetrate and fill? Christ illuminates even the hidden mind even though the sun can’t penetrate there. Christ penetrates the soul and illuminates it as with the brightness of eternal light. Yet even if Christ’s strength is poured out among all and into all and over all—for Christ was born among us of the Virgin and for our sakes, and even if it is poured over the good and bad, nevertheless Christ warms only those who come near. Just as people shut out the sun’s brightness when they close the windows of their houses and choose to live in darkness, so those who turn their backs on the Sun of Righteousness can’t see the splendor or be warmed by it. Do you walk in darkness like such people? It is plain to everyone that if you do this you are the cause of your blindness. Open your windows! Let light fill your entire inward house with a brightness greater than the physical sun can give. Let that inward house shine with the brightness of the True Sun. Open your eyes so you become able to see the Sun of Righteousness that is right here in front of you!! The window you must open is that of faith. And you open it when you live in the love Christ has shown us. Throw open the windows of your life so that love may shine out of you and enlighten everyone around you in just the way Christ himself let his light shine on you and opened the eyes of Bartimaeus. In faith and trust you can be a lamp from whom Christ’s light shines (St. Ambrose of Milan).

Whatever we do, whatever good deeds we perform, whatever we strive for, and whatever praiseworthy objective we long for, all of these efforts will end in their perfection—if they end in what we call the “vision of God”. What is left to long for or seek when one has God? What will be enough if God is not enough? We want to see God, we strive with all our might to see God, but who doesn’t? Scripture says to us: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”! What do you need in order to see God? What good would it do one to long to see a sunset if that person were blind? What good does it do if one has damaged sight? If one’s eyes aren’t healthy one can’t enjoy a sunset because the light may bring torment. That happens to those who try to see God with an impure heart. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!” ... Only to the pure in heart is seeing God is promised. This is because it is the heart that has “eyes” capable of seeing God. To such eyes the apostle Paul refers when he talks about “having the eyes of your heart enlightened”. Eyes of this kind are enlightened by faith now; it is only hereafter that they will be enlightened by sight. “As long as we are in the body, we are absent from the Lord, for we walk now by faith and not by sight.” When we are in this state of faith we are said “to see as in a mirror dimly; but then we shall see face to face”. What is it that makes the “eyes of the heart” able to receive the gracious gift of seeing God? It is love. The pure of heart are those who love the Lord with all their lives and strength and heart. How are we made able to love God so totally? We are changed little by little as we “see” God in others and respond to them with a love like the love of our Lord Jesus. The eyes of your heart are opened first by the faith that Christ is in all whom God has chosen to become “God’s own”. We learn to see this as our faith grows strong. But we don’t only see it; we respond by loving others as we want to love Our Lord. Then our eyes begin to become strong enough to see God. It is the ability to see God in others and love God in others that makes our heart’s eyes able to see God. That’s what God’s holy ones, God’s saints have learned to do. That is why we celebrate their holiness and seek to follow them (St. Augustine of Hippo).

I saw that truly nothing happens by accident or luck, but everything by God’s wise providence. If it seems to be accident or luck from our point of view, our blindness and lack of foreknowledge is the cause; for matters that have been in God’s foreseeing wisdom since before time began befall us suddenly, all unawares; and so in our blindness and ignorance we say that this is accident or luck, but to our Lord God it is not so.... For here we are so blind and foolish that we never seek God until he, of his goodness, shows himself to us. It is when we do see something of him by his grace that we are stirred by that same grace to seek him, and with earnest longing to see still more of his blessedness. So I saw him and sought him; I had him and wanted him. It seems to me that this is and should be an experience common to us all (Julian of Norwich).

When Bartimaeus cries out, the people in the crowd rebuke him and tell him to be quiet. Far from helping Bartimaeus in getting a healing, they try to hinder him. In this, they act the apostles who just a short time ago had tried to keep the mothers from bringing their children to Jesus. Moreover, the crowd has shifted its focus from Jesus to Bartimaeus and in an adversarial way at that. Again, this matches the disciples who focused on each other in their altercations rather than on Jesus. If the crowd at this point is an extension of the disciples, then they badly need healing and yet, the more healing they need for their blindness, the more resistant they are to healing. Bartimaeus, in calling out to Jesus by his Messianic title shows that he sees more than those who theoretically have eyes (Abbot Andrew Marr).

Annoyed, people try to make [the blind man] be quiet, but he cries out all the louder. At this point, Jesus stops, summons him, and asks him what he wants. Now comes the single and unique wish: To be able to see! His longing for light is part of what causes Jesus to grant the healing, which in turn makes it possible for the man to follow him. The following after Jesus shows that the longing for light was a longing for something more basic: a longing for the right path, the path a blind person cannot find; a longing for the path that leads to God, a path whose direction and stages one must see if he is to embark upon it. He who was caught off from light now find his way home....This means that the light is no more in our power than the sun, which recurrently disappears from sight, is within our power. The Lord dies not abandon us, but we dare not stop whenever we want to and hold onto him, as if he were our possession. As long as we keep following the Light never leaves us behind (Hans Urs von Balthasar).

Jesus has just left Jericho.  Even though he has only begun his most important journey, which will take him to Jerusalem, he still stops to respond to Bartimaeus’ cry.  Jesus is moved by his request and becomes involved in his situation.  He is not content to offer him alms, but rather wants to personally encounter him.  He does not give him any instruction or response, but asks him: “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mk 10:51).  It might seem a senseless question: what could a blind man wish for if not his sight?  Yet, with this question made face to face, direct but respectful, Jesus shows that he wants to hear our needs.  He wants to talk with each of us about our lives, our real situations, so that nothing is kept from him.  After Bartimaeus’ healing, the Lord tells him: “Your faith has made you well” (v. 52).  It is beautiful to see how Christ admires Bartimaeus’ faith, how he has confidence in him.  He believes in us, more than we believe in ourselves.

There is an interesting detail.  Jesus asks his disciples to go and call Bartimaeus.  They address the blind man with two expressions, which only Jesus uses in the rest of the Gospel.  First they say to him: “Take heart!”, which literally means “have faith, strong courage!”.  Indeed, only an encounter with Jesus gives a person the strength to face the most difficult situations.  The second expression is “Rise!”, as Jesus said to so many of the sick, whom he took by the hand and healed.  His disciples do nothing other than repeat Jesus’ encouraging and liberating words, leading him directly to Jesus, without lecturing him.  Jesus’ disciples are called to this, even today, especially today: to bring people into contact with the compassionate Mercy that saves.  When humanity’s cry, like Bartimaeus’, becomes stronger still, there is no other response than to make Jesus’ words our own and, above all, imitate his heart.  Moments of suffering and conflict are for God occasions of mercy.  Today is a time of mercy!....In the end, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on his path (cf. v. 52).  He did not only regain his sight, but he joined the community of those who walk with Jesus.... Let us follow the path that the Lord desires. Let us ask him to turn to us with his healing and saving gaze, which knows how to radiate light, as it recalls the splendour which illuminates it.  Never allowing ourselves to be tarnished by pessimism or sin, let us seek and look upon the glory of God, which shines forth in men and women who are fully alive (Pope Francis).


“After This Our Exile”

            Anyone who has lived abroad knows it’s not easy getting used to a different culture, its customs and language, making new friends.  It’s a kind of exile, away from all that’s near and dear.  A lot of the Bible is about exile too, when the Jews were driven from the Promised Land by foreign powers and made to dwell apart -- the captives of Zion (RP).  Indeed, if not for this event we’d have far less of the Bible than we do, like the passage from Jeremiah we just heard or the psalm we just sung, both of which come from a time of exile.

            For Christians exile can also be very much a part of life.  For the followers of Jesus, immersed in his death and resurrection, similar moments can happen when the Christian journey feels like exile: moments when we, like Israel of old, feel alienated from the familiar, no longer “at home” where we once felt comfortable, and like we belonged.  In such times, we feel “far-off” from what once was near: Times when we feel like lamenting over what’s been taken away from us, perhaps with some nostalgia for its return, yet realizing we can never really go “home.”

            Such exiles could be triggered by lots of things: a personal crisis, a loss of some kind, a divorce, the death of a loved one, moving away, a new job, illness, mid-life, retirement; perhaps a new relationship, a new vision of oneself, or of God. Whatever it might be for you, whether something past, something you’re dealing with now, or even something you sense is coming, exile always means “time away,” being taken to a new “place” which is foreign to you and, makes you long for release.  For those of us disoriented by the pandemic, by the crisis in the church and the political divide in our country, wondering whether we still “belong” anyplace, feeling as if something once precious and reliable has been taken from us and, with ruins abounding, well, exile strikes me as an apt metaphor for the times in which we are living.

            And clearly, exile is no easy time -- or place -- to be in, whether personally or collectively.  It might seem like you’ve, or we’ve, been abandoned, forgotten, left to our own devices, even by God.  In exile, we might even feel God is punishing us, that somehow we’re under God’s judgment.  In exile, Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” makes sense to us.  We enter the Lord’s own experience of desolation, his “descent into hell.”  And we cry out with blind Bartimaeus, Let me see again (G).

            It’s a dark night of transition we’re in, with little light, long after the sun has set, and sometime before the dawn. Someone wrote of this sightless time, “For the most part, traveling this path will feel like being lost, abandoned, alone, stretched beyond one’s limits, left angry, frustrated, disappointed and ashamed.  The goal will often seem not only unattainable but even non-existent” (cf. Linda Sussman, Speech of the Grail, 30-1).

            Exile is also a time when sweeping destruction comes upon our “old Jerusalems” as we wait for a “new Jerusalem” to appear, even as we go forth weeping, carrying the seed to be sown.  And faith tell us this new Jerusalem will be more resplendent than the former, its temple more luxurious, its worship more pure. For exile is a time of purification and transformation, after which we will come back rejoicing, carrying [our] sheaves (cf. RP).  And yes, this in-between time is indeed a “dark night.”

            Which is why in moments like these we need a prophet, someone like Jeremiah, to speak a word of encouragement to us: someone to speak God’s word of assurance to us: Behold, I will bring [you] back…I will gather [you]…. [You] departed in tears, but I will console [you] and guide[you]; I will lead [you] to brooks of water, on a level road, so that none shall  stumble (cf. I). In other words, we need someone to tell us we’ll come through the crisis: changed no doubt, transformed even, by our time away, but we shall return. We need someone to tell us the barrenness of our desert will blossom one day with new life, that a way will open before us in the desert, which God is even now preparing.

            Yes, we need prophets to speak to us in time of exile: perhaps a spiritual director, a soul friend, a counselor or a therapist. Such prophets can help us see with new eyes, hear with new ears, love with new hearts, and help us abandon the false idols we’d been worshipping.  In other words, ready us for resettling, even though what we return to may look very different from what we left behind, and in need of considerable rebuilding.

            We also need, by the way, others who share our experience, who belong with us to a “community of exiles.” For when we’re feeling quite alone, when all around us appears strange, when no place feels like home, and we’re cast into doubt about the future -- communities of hope, resistance, and renewal are more important than ever.  Dare I say, we need a church undergoing its own dark night, unsure of its future, though aware returning to the past is not possible, and awaiting a time to rebuild.

            For despite its darkness, exile is a time of hope just as it was for Israel of old: the foretaste, however bitter, of a new day dawning, when the Lord restored their fortunes like the torrents in the southern desert.  When the Lord brought back the captives of Zion [and their] mouths was filled with laughter and [their] tongue with rejoicing  (cf. RP).  And as it was for Jesus, whom God glorified, making him high priest  



Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli)

Through Jesus, the Son of David, let us pray in faith for all God’s people.

That God may gather from the farthest parts of the earth a faithful remnant to proclaim and give praise to God’s name.

That those in the ordained ministry may reflect the gentleness of Christ and serve the wayward in the humble awareness of their own weakness.

That nations may not stumble on the path that leads to peace but walk to that goal by the straight path of justice and mutual respect.

That society may provide care for the poor who are most in need: those who are blind or lame, those with child and those who care for their children or grandchildren.

That Christians may never neglect or silence those who cry out for help but gladly share with them the resources the Lord has given us.

That those who are bereaved may pass through their time of weeping and receive the consolations of their community’s care and support.

That the sick of our community may receive the healing born of faith.

That we who are baptized as a priestly people may offer fitting worship here and in the world, the living and acceptable sacrifice of charity to all.

That our faithful departed may be gathered to that great company whom God will lead to the waters of eternal life. 

Have pity on us, God our Saviour. Grant us grace and courage to cast off our sins and turn to you for healing. Show us in Christ the sure path of salvation and strengthen us to follow gladly in the way of the gospel. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen (ICEL; 1998)



Shout for joy! with cries of gladness

Gather those who are dispersed.

Here the blind are given vision,

Here the comfortless find mirth.

In his faith, blind Bartimaeus

Shouted out his need to see.

Jesus, Light from Light, restored him,

Gave him sight and set him free.

Each of us, in our baptism,

Has received the gift of sight

Through the Christ, our high priest Jesus:

Filled with joy, we seek God’s light!

Lord’s Prayer

Illumined by the light of faith, we pray as Jesus taught us....

Spiritual Communion

Lord Jesus Christ, our great high priest and representative before God, we are unable this day to assist at the renewal of your sacrifice in the Eucharistic mystery.  Instead we ask you in faith to console and guide us with your presence.  Give us courage to remain this day without the support of community and the strength of your Sacrament.  Restore us soon in your mercy to the priestly people whom you have consecrated by the offering of your Body and Blood for our life and the life of the world.     



Closing Hymn(John Henry Newman)


Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom,
lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
the distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now
lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
pride ruled my will: remember not past years!

So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!