Monday, November 03, 2003

A reflection on the Gospel, Sunday, October 26th by Fr. Smith

Sometimes if we really want to "see" or understand something we have take the most radical and trusting step of faith first. Bartimaeus, a blind begger, is squating, begging for alms, and hoping that the pilgrims heading for the Passover celebration in Jerusalem will throw a coin or two into his cloakfolded over his legs. He knows all the best places to beg, and though blind, has survived relatively well over the years.

Bartimaeus' blindness has heightened his sense of hearing. He doesn't miss much of what is going on around him. He has heard that one Jesus or Nazareth is soon to pass by, and when he does he cries out: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. The crown around him tells him to b quiet, but he continues to cry out to Jesus. And Jesus stops! Jesus calls for Bartimaeus to come to him. Bartimaeus jumps up and runs to Jesus leaving behind his cloak!. This is a very significant detail in the story. The cloak kept Bartimaeus warm at night and was the collecting point for the alms he received. It was probably one of his few possessions and leaving it behind as a blind person he would never find it again in the confusion of the great crowd heading for Jerusalem. Seeing his faith and perceiving that Bartimaeus was ready, Jesus asks him the question he asked others: What do you want me to do for you? Bartimaeus had left everything- he could have asked for monetary help, but instead he asks that he might regain his sight. Jesus instantly gives him back his sight. The story concludes with Bartimaeus following Jesus "on the way" as the newest disciple!

All Saints celebration November 2nd- a reflection by Fr. Smith

St. Michael and All Angels church and school celebrates a "full" liturgical calendar remembering each Saint and Anglican hero as their day comes along. But at All Saints we remember the "rank and file" folk "just like you and me" who are baptized in the faith and whose deeds of love and mercy over the years are largely unheralded. There are no natural-born christians. There is no such thing as christian DNA. Surely loved by God from the moment of our conception, each of us still has to be introduced to Jesus Christ the Lord of life. The everyday "saints" our the ones who have done this for us and it is these we celebrate on the Feast of All Saints!

The "saints" we're giving thanks for today have dents in their halos for sure. They merit the name saint not because they are free from imperfection, but because they tried to imitate Jesus in their lives. St. Paul refers to "saints" in all his letters to the churches and chides those same people at times for their wilfulness, quarelsome, self-serving ways, as well as their sexual irresponsibility. But they are still "saints". Even St. Paul, after his conversion confesses "I don't understand my own actions. The very things I do not want to do, I do. And the things I do want to do I don't do."

The children we baptized on All Saints are "canonized" into the joyful following of the Lord. They will need their families, friends, and the witness all of us to come to know Jesus Christ and the happiness this relationship brings. And when life brings sorrow, as it surely does at times, Jesus will be the One who will wipe away every tear from their eyes.