30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Mk 10:46-52)
Andrea Bocelli is a world-class tenor. He is also visually-impaired. His hits songs include “The Prayer” and “Con te partiro.” Before he was born on September 22, 1958 doctors advised his parents to abort him because they predicted that he will have a disability. But his mother overruled the doctors advise. He was born with congenital glaucoma.
As a child, he showed great passion for music. He started to play the piano at six. Soon he could play the flute, saxophone, trumpet, guitar and drums. At 12 years old, following a football accident that hit him in the eye, he became totally blind. Though blind, he studied at the University of Pisa and became a lawyer.
His break in music came in 1992. An Italian rock star requested him to record a demo of “Miserere” intended for renowned vocalist Luciano Pavarotti. On hearing the demo, Pavarotti was impressed by his voice. He rose to fame in 1994 after winning the preliminary round of the 44th Sanremo Music Festival, the most popular Italian song contest getting the highest mark ever recorded for a newcomer.
Today, he is an international superstar in music. His disability did not hinder him to be successful either as a lawyer or as a singer. His secret? His positive mindset.
Today’s gospel narrates the story of the visually-impaired Bartimaeus. He is from Jericho. He is a beggar sitting at the side of the road. If we picture him – he is languishing. He is deteriorating and decaying. He feels so helpless, powerless and useless. But one day, Jesus gave him hope. Jesus gave him a new beginning!
Three Lessons from Bartimaeus: 3 C’s
Concern. He had a special and important concern: he can’t see. He is blind. His lack of sight is a big minus in his life. It brought him a lot of trouble, worries and disturbance. His disability brought great discomfort, hardships and many insecurities. He was no longer at the center of life; he was merely just at the roadside of life.
Courage. He had extraordinary courage. One day, he learnt about Jesus. The murmur and gossip of the crowd informed him he was someone special. He had power! He resolved not to miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance. Jesus was passing. He might not return to Jericho again. So he shouted. He pleaded. He raised his voice.
He was scolded by the crowd. He prayed all the more; even harder. Here is a beautiful lesson here: don not let people intimidate you! Do not allow your circumstances to discourage you. Pray harder. Never sulk or make the blame-God game. Bartimaeus pray louder until Jesus took notice of him.
Cured. Because of his unstoppable and courageous faith, he received what he asked for. His prayer was answered. His prayer connected him to Christ. Something inspiring happened to him after his cure. He became an intentional follower of Christ. He believed in Jesus. From then on, he became a Christ-bearer. He became a Christ-teller. He brought others to Jesus. He became a connector of others to Jesus. This is what Mission Sunday is all about – connecting others to Christ.
Today, our gospel invites us to be like Bartimaeus. Bring your concern to Jesus – whatever it is. Have a courageous faith. Do not be deterred or be discouraged by fear, insecurities or any obstacle. Pray harder. Pray stronger. Be a Christ-bearer; a Christ-teller. Be an intentional follower of Jesus.
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