Back in the dark ages when I was a child, I remember a cartoon about a little bird named Yakee-doodle, a cat whose name escapes me who spent all of his time trying to make Yakee his lunch, and a bulldog names Chopper who always intervened to save Yakee. When Chopper would grab the unfortunate cat just before he could finally catch and consume Yakee, Chopper would turn to Yakee and say, “Close your itty-bitty eyes, you shouldn’t oughta see what’s going to happen next.” We’re a bit like the little bird, with our itty-bitty eyes shut, so we can’t see what’ happening around us.
Bartimaeus, a blind man, waits for Christ to approach, then cries out, Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me. Jesus has Bartimaeus brought to him and asks him what he wants. Bartimaeus, without hesitation, says I want to see. Jesus restores his sight, and says to him his faith has saved him. His faith, faith in Christ, has restored his sight. Ah, he can see, but now he can see all that is around him, faith has opened his eyes to the world, the beauty and the pain, the wonder and the horror. We gather today and approach this table in faith. We have faith in Christ, yet we are afraid to see. We want to open our eyes and see the beauty around us, but our vision isn’t exclusive, we can’t see the beauty without also seeing the pain, the wonder without the horror. We don’t want to see the awful things of the world, but we must. Our faith demands it. We are called to see that pain and horror, and act, act to change it to make the pain beauty, the horror, wonder. We can do this, but only in faith. We can do this, but only if we allow our eyes to be opened. Chopper told Yakee to close his itty-bitty eyes, he shouldn’t oughta see what was going to happen. Christ says to us open your eyes, your faith has saved you. Open your eyes so your faith can move you.
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Oct. 25, 2009