30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The single most important thing we have as Catholics, indeed the single most important thing anyone, Catholic or not has, is our relationship with Jesus.
This is something St Paul has been talking about in the letter to the Romans which we have proclaimed at mass over the last few days. St. Paul says in effect, keeping laws doesn't save you, only Jesus saves you.
An emphasis on rules alone has the danger of missing the most important thing and that is the loving relationship between me and Jesus. The rules are necessary, because they explain how you live as a lover of Jesus, but the rules are not the main thing they are the effect of the relationship not the relationship itself.
Even now, sometimes, when I give instruction on the faith, I have to resist the danger of just passing on the rules and explaining the rules, but not helping someone to know Jesus.
Today's gospel is a good lesson about this fundamental relationship of love between each of us and Jesus.
A good way of prayer is to imagine yourself in that gospel story, imagine you are the blind beggar, or a bystander, what do you see, what do you hear, how do you understand what you see and hear.
Jesus is, as we say in the creed, God from God, light from light, the light he has received from the Father he brings into the world so that he is the light of the world and the light of each of us. And we are children of light, we are made for light, we are made in God's image. But the effect of original sin and of our own sins and of the sin in the world, has left us without light and helpless - blind beggars.
This is the start of our relationship with Jesus, he asks 'what do you want' Jesus asks each of us, every day, 'what do you want' - he knows - but he loves us, he wants us to ask as a sign of our love, and the answer is 'let me see', give me light, give me what I am made for, give me yourself for you are light.
And Jesus gives himself straightaway, and the man follows him. I wonder if the man thought, 'when I can see again I will get a job, earn some money, go travelling, see the world' but when the gift of light, which is the gift of Jesus himself, the gift for which the man is made, is given, the man can only respond by following Jesus. Once you have received the gift of love you don't want to leave the lover.
Meditating upon this event, praying about it, we will see ourselves in this story. Some pointers that might come from meditating and praying on that passage are: the need to recognise Jesus to know he is near, in the scriptures, in prayer, at mass, in others, at work in the family, especially in the sacrament of marriage. To be aware of his presence is the first step otherwise we can't have s relationship with him. Then we need to recognise what he has that we need, what he can do for us, and then we need to ask him. The throwing off of the cloak makes me think of urgency too. Nothing can hold us back or get in the way, chuck everything that prevents us getting to Jesus.
In everything we do, especially when we assess our own discipleship, our Catholicism, our faith, we need to ask is the heart of it, the thing that comes before everything else, is it Jesus who knows and loves me and allows me to know and love him.