Worth stopping for
The story is told about a pilot who volunteered to walk a blind man’s dog into the plane. Imagine the reaction of the passengers at the boarding gate when they saw the pilot, all dressed up, wearing sunglasses, with a guide dog walking on his side! Some were aghast, and some even thought of not taking the flight!
In today’s Gospel (Mk. 10:46-52), Jesus healed a blind man named Bartimaeus. Notice how the crowd rebuked him when he started calling out to Jesus? All too often, sighted people misunderstand or totally belittle people who are visually challenged.
Jesus took time to stop for someone “at the roadside.” It was a very affirming gesture. For Jesus, every person is worth stopping for. Let us ask ourselves today: Do I stop for the last, the lost, the least, the insignificant and the “worthless” in our midst?
Notice, too, how Jesus helped Bartimaeus not out of pity or condescension—as we often do when we help the “less fortunate” in our midst? Jesus empowered the blind man by first asking him “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus affirmed the person’s importance and dignity not by giving a dole out, but by first giving respect.
The greatest disrespect for our people comes from politicians and government officials who buy people with money that was stolen from them in the first place. They throw a little bread and entertainment and continue to fool them and steal from them.
Instead of empowering our people, many of our politicians have mastered the art of making the people dependent on and beholden to them. They become gods, and so too their children, because they know how to use money. Simply put, they have reduced politics and governance to “pera pera lang yan,” and treat our people as “mukhang pera lahat yan.”
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” I praise and thank God for people who help us on in our journey by their kind and encouraging words, by their prayers, care and support. It is heartwarming to know that there are so many people who are enablers and who cheer us on. Oh, there are stalkers, talkers, fault-finders and bashers as well. Are you an enabler or a disabler—worse, a basher?
I and my classmates, Fr. Gil Alejandria, SVD, Fr. Bebs Alcober, SVD, and Fr. Vic Tiam, together with Ted Terrenal, Eggai Matias and Jules Quinabo, celebrated our 38th priestly ordination anniversary last Oct. 25. We sang our class song, “Why me, Lord?” in gratitude for God’s love and faithfulness in spite of our failings and unworthiness all these years.
Sharing with you the lyrics of the song by Kris Kristofferson: “Why me, Lord/ What have I ever done/ To deserve even one/ Of the pleasures I’ve known/ Tell me, Lord/ What did I ever do/ That was worth loving You/ For the kindness You’ve shown?/ Lord, help me Jesus/ I’ve wasted it so help me Jesus/ You know what I am/ But now that I’ve known/ That I need You oh so help me Jesus/ My soul’s in Your hands.”
Next week, we will be celebrating All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. We are reminded that our life on earth is temporary, and that we have a soul, and that heaven is our final destination. Instead of being so engrossed in worldly pursuits and concerns, we should be preparing, too, to meet our Creator, which may come sooner than we think, at a time when we least expect.
Think about this: “Speed is calculated with ‘miles per hour,’ but life is calculated with ‘smiles per hour.’ Are you happy? Are you truly happy?”
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, remind us that every person is worth stopping for. Amen.