readings are as provocative as usual, as we wind our way through the Gospel of Mark. I hope you had a chance to read them and pray with them before mass.
It was my intention to return and write about these readings, but I am taking a departure, yet not. The line from the Gospel, as spoken by Bartimaeus is our title - "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me."
He is pleading with Jesus, he is sure that Jesus will heal him. Of course Jesus does. But that is not what I am going to write about today.
We had a visiting priest at mass as Fr. Pat is away. Father White, from Food for the Poor came to preside and to speak with us about his mission.
This brings me right back to Bartimaeus, yelling out for Jesus to have pity and help him. And that is exactly what Jesus did, even though the rest of the crowd pretty much told him to just shut up.
The people that Food for the Poor serves might not even yell out. They eke out livings where there is none to be eked out. We think we have it tough due to a bad economy. Maybe this means not taking a flying vacation or maybe just not going out to dinner as often. Poor us, how we suffer.
I don't mean to sound overarching, but think about it. What "poor" means to us personally and what "poor" means in the US in general is not really so poor. That is not to say that we don't have many US citizens living in poverty. The reality is that many of them are looked down upon as having done something to deserve this.
Which brings me straight back to Bartimaeus, our blind friend in the Gospel. Thanks to my blogging Catholic friend, Mike Hayes, I was reminded that Bartimaeus meant "son of the defiled."
In those days it was commonly believed that if you were blind or lame, something happened that meant you deserved this.
We now feel that way about the poor. How sad for us - we are impoverished in our own hearts by this kind of thinking.
Father spoke with eloquence and passion about the people he sees when he goes to Haiti and other places. It is not pretty. He spoke of a garbage dump that smelled worse than anything he had ever encountered. And that garbage dump was home to many people, who along with dogs, cats, rats, mice and birds, all scavenged the mountains of trash for things to eat or sell.
In our country, especially lately, we hear a lot of talk about how government should stay out of taking care of people. Well - there are lots of countries where this is the case and Haiti is one of them. And since Haiti is so poor, no one can really take care of anyone.
We are here on this earth to care for one another. That means giving out of our wealth and giving out of our sacrificial heart. The rich person giving $2500 is great, but the poorer person who gives their last $5 is great too. The amount is one thing and your transformation is another. They are dynamic and must go hand in hand.
Father shared a figure with us and I will close with this along with some urging to go to Food for the Poor and make a donation.
How many people a day die from starvation?
How about this - 50,000 people die from starvation a day! That is one small city a day, lost for hunger.
Food for the Poor. Give from your heart. And Jesus, Son of David - have pity on us all.