30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Oct. 28, 2012)

In last Sunday’s Gospel Jesus said to James and John: “What do you want me to do for you?” Their answer smacked of self-centered ambition, of jockeying for prestige and power. I don’t want to be too hard on them, though. Their request came right after Jesus’ third prediction of the Passion, and somehow they must have had enough faith that Jesus would somehow emerge victorious from His coming ordeal.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus posed the exact same question to Bartimaeus, a blind beggar. His response: “Lord, I want to see.” That’s a prayer I wish I could make more often, but somehow in the shuffle of life it gets lost. Sometimes I’m so full of myself that I need (or want ) to see any more, especially if it doesn’t fit my self-perception. There’s also times when I see but don’t see … for example, I see a person who I assume is a beggar and give him or her not even a second glance. I pass right over them.

But even more to the point, how do I see myself? Am I pretty, beautiful, handsome, gorgeous? Am I ugly, deformed, bland, disgusting? What’s the criteria I’m using? Do you believe others when they say something positive about your demeanor or appearance, or do you find 101 reasons to prove that they’re blind to the “reality” that is you. For a different perspective, have you ever considered that people who are blind from birth do not know what they look like? Nobody can tell them exactly either. They can touch their faces and bodies, but that is insufficient. How do they know what “beautiful” or “handsome” means?

Rather than obsessing over what we look like, could we not look at ourselves and see the face of Jesus superimposed over ours? After all, when Jesus looks at us, that’s all He sees: He sees Himself! Instead of spending hours bemoaning our appearance, why not spend more time trying to see life’s real meaning and direction, trying to be people of vision, to know where God is to be found, where real truth and goodness and beauty are to be found.

Be God’s smile for someone today!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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