Rev. Eric M. Augenstein
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
St. Agnes Catholic Church– October 27/28, 2018
Jeremiah 31.7-9 Psalm 126 Hebrews 5.1-6 Mark 10.46-52
Something that night changed me. It was the first Friday of September, a little less than two months ago. As the First Friday of the month, the young adult ministry office for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis was holding a night of Eucharistic Adoration, followed by dinner and a social. It was being held that month at Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis, where I live during the week, and I had been asked to preside at the Holy Hour and hear confessions. I remember that the weather that night reflected the mood of many of us in the Church in those days – it was raining, pretty heavily; a wet and dreary late-summer evening. It had only been a few weeks at that point since the release of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on clergy sexual abuse, alongside all of the other sin and scandal that was weighing down the Church. It was a dreary night in Indianapolis that reflected the dark night of the soul that many of us felt deep inside. But something happened that night that changed me.
We really didn’t know who was going to show up for the Holy Hour. Would the rain keep people away? Would the scandals keep people away? Would the busy lives of young adults direct their attention elsewhere? But they did come. Well over a hundred young adult Catholics, most in their 20s, gathered in the midst of the dreariness to pray, to turn to Jesus present in the Eucharist, to gaze upon him and to let his love and mercy pour into their souls. As I sat in the back of the Cathedral hearing confessions, in the brief moments in between a steady line of penitents, I looked out through the church. I could feel the intensity of the pain that people brought with them. I could hear the united voices singing praise to our “good, good Father;” crying out, “Lord, I need you, every hour I need you.” The prayer of that community, even in the moments of silence, was palpable – you could sense it in the room, with all of our eyes directed toward the altar, where we found Jesus, the bread of life, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. And all of a sudden, I knew that we would be ok. I knew that there is no darkness that cannot be broken by the light of Christ. I knew that there is no wound that cannot be healed by the blood of Christ. I knew that our fragile community, broken and tempest-tossed, would find its way if we all keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. And I saw before me that night a core group of faithful, humble, prayerful, fervent and young servants of God who would rise up as a new generation of saints to set the world on fire.
That night changed me. And even in the weeks since that night, as we continue to witness the violence and hatred and divisions that plague our world, even to yesterday’s deadly shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, I remember that night, and so many others since. Jesus continues to remind me that he is in charge and that he does not abandon his people. And he gave me eyes to see.
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
We have been blind, but with Jesus we can see. We have been afraid, but with Jesus we take courage. We have been lame, immobilized, but with Jesus we can walk. We have been mute, but with Jesus we can speak.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”