In his majesty he gives the clouds their strength,
and the hailstones are broken in pieces.
The voice of his thunder rebukes the earth;
when he appears, the mountains shake.
At his will the south wind blows;
so do the storm from the north and the whirlwind.
He scatters the snow like birds flying down,
and its descent is like locusts alighting.
The eye is dazzled by the beauty of its whiteness,
and the mind is amazed as it falls.
He pours frost over the earth like salt,
and icicles form like pointed thorns.
The cold north wind blows,
and ice freezes on the water;
it settles on every pool of water,
and the water puts it on like a breastplate.
He consumes the mountains and burns up the desert,
and withers the tender grass like fire.
A mist quickly heals all things;
the falling dew gives refreshment from the heat.
By his plan he stilled the deep
and planted islands in it.
Those who sail the sea tell of its dangers,
and we marvel at what we hear.
In it are strange and marvelous creatures,
all kinds of living things, and huge sea-monsters.
Give thanks to the Lord upon the harp,
with a ten-stringed lute sing him songs.
O sing him a song that is new,
play loudly, with all your skill. (R./)
For the word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love. (R./)
By his word the heavens were made,
by the breath of his mouth all the stars.
He collects the waves of the ocean;
he stores up the depths of the sea. (R./)
Let all the earth fear the Lord,
all who live in the world revere him.
He spoke; and it came to be.
He commanded; it sprang into being. (R./)
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me." Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me." Jesus stood still and said, "Call him here." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; get up, he is calling you." So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "My teacher, let me see again." Jesus said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
Sirach moves from outward things to inner mysteries, from the beauty of nature to the depths of the human heart where emotions vibrate and reasons may clash. "God plumbs the depths and penetrates the heart, and understands their inmost being. How beautiful are all his works… to meet each need, each creature is preserved." Following Sirach's advice, our life of faith too should follow the quick spontaneity of the child that reaches towards its mother's breast for "the pure milk of the spirit."
A lovely stained-glass window in a nearby church depicts today's scene, the healing of the man born blind.. At the bottom of the picture is written the exchange between Jesus and the man, "What do you want me to do for you?," "Lord, let me see again." Apparently this man almost did not get close enough to Jesus to really talk with him. When he first cried out, from his place by the roadside, "Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me," some friends of Jesus scolded the man and told him to keep quiet.
Jesus was critical of those who prevented others from coming to believe in him. He reproved his disciples for preventing children being brought for his blessing. He ignored those who tried to prevent blind Bartimaeus from making contact with him. Rather than shutting doors in people's faces, Jesus wants his followers to open up the kingdom of heaven to others. We are to lead each other to the Lord, reveal the Lord to each other, and, in so doing, to support one another on our journey towards God. We can only admire the efforts made by pope Francis in this direction.
Jesus stopped his walk and told those who were insisting that the man keep quiet that, instead, they call him to come over. These well-meaning followers of Jesus were preventing this man from relating to Jesus, much to Jesus' annoyance. Our calling is to do the very opposite; it is to help each other meet the Lord, to bring each other to the Lord in some way, to support one another in our efforts to follow the Lord along the road.