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A decisive leap...

Mk 10,46-56

We are in the final stage of this magnificent path of Mc 10 that we started several weeks ago. In this "itinerant school" we have found the Master of Galilee who wants to cure and prevent in us, his disciples, the famous sclerocardia, hardness of the heart, of which we have been discovering the deepest causes. 

Jesus has found several characters through whom we have been able to detect to what point this disease has touched us or can little by little encompass the heart, a place that according to biblical culture retains the centrality of the person. The vice for pleasure that is not interested in assuming the commitment until the end, represented in the Pharisees who seek the approval of the divorce; the desire to possess and not lose wealth, represented in the rich man; the desire to possess command and power over anyone, represented in the disciples James and John.

And on this Sunday we will find the last character on this path as Jesus goes up from the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem, the highest podium where the Master calls us. But we need to ask ourselves first, at what stage of the road to Jerusalem am I? In which of the three characters have I felt more identified throughout these weeks? A bit of all three, one in particular? 

Saint Ignatius invites us not to be afraid of recognizing ourselves in the characters of the gospel, but rather to be afraid of not moving from there. In his great introspection and spirituality, he gives us the keys to detect where we are and how far we are willing to go, because at the end of the day, the Lord respects our freedom, although of course he wants us very close to him.

In a meditation called the three binaries, that is, three dispositions of the will, there he presents us with a test of the will where we can measure our ability to correct the course we are taking and renounce the repugnances and disorderly attachments that have led us down paths wrong. He invites us in this exercise to consider if we really are free to be chosen or to follow Jesus.

- The first class of binary or arrangement: it is the evasive or delaying, that is to say, that of those who, what they can do today, leave it for tomorrow, those who knowing their attachments (material, personal, social, intellectual) want to leave them but do not put the means until the hour of the death.

- The second class: It is the negotiator or stingy, the one of those who give in condition of receiving, the one of those who want to remove their condition but remain with what they possess. That of those who seek God to accommodate their opinion, and who do not want to fully abandon themselves to God's will, even if it is for the best.

In these two classes of types of disposition of the will we can find those three characters that we have been getting to know closely.

- The rich man who on his knees begs what to do to have eternal life but does not provide the means because he still cannot leave his attachments.

- In the Pharisees who want to fulfill the law of the Lord but are comfortable with the law of divorce, because when it no longer works for them... why not change, besides, Moses gave the law!

- Or in the case of the disciples who seek the first positions, have the power to command but in the style of the world and not enter the categories of service and the donation and delivery of life without regard or bureaucracies.

Meditating on these types of dispositions, I have remembered that this year, for various health reasons, I had to give up cheese, and there is nothing worse than suffering from a vice, I never imagined that I was in some way addicted to cheese since I was a child and even more so in Italy where European cheeses are delicious.... I was not able to give them up because scientists also say that cheeses release casomorphins, a substance structurally similar to endorphins that generates a pleasant feeling of well-being and causes a strong addiction... It wasn't easy but I did it, but how do you suffer! 

And I saw myself like this, attacked and attached to my milky endorphins like these characters, attacked on their affections and negotiating their position with the Lord. And I still see myself negotiating meanly with the Lord. Yes, I follow you but... let me eat this little cheese! ha ha ha

What is the cheese to which your heart is so attached that you defend yourself with a helmet but it grabs you by the tail and you fall into the trap?

What are your dairy casomorphins that you don't want to drop? 

- The third kind of binary or disposition is the soul generous and determined, that of those who decide to renounce all attachment, not caring about having or not having anything, because what really interests them and moves them to one or another option, is only what is for the greater glory and service of the Lord .

And it is here that we reach the last stage of this itinerant school in Mc 10. Jesus will find a character who in the eyes of the world and the three previous characters is a nobody, Bartimaeus a beggar and blind, he is not a rich man , is not a respectful Pharisee, nor the disciple of privileged position. He is a nobody that everyone wants to shut up but his faith makes him scream louder. Be a beggar (in Greekprosaitēs, προσαίτης) and also blind (tufos,τυφλός) was a total disgrace because they are considered extremely weak and miserable people, they are not autonomous people and they completely depend on charity, a charity that is sometimes conspicuous by its absence because, as we read in the text, they really do not care at all: "many they rebuked him to keep quiet" (Mk 10,48).

Jesus does not give alms to this blind man... he calls him. And in this call Jesus does not ask for ANYTHING, he does not expect anything from him, Jesus is there EVERYTHING FOR HIM, everything will depend on his ambition, how far he wants to go, maybe he will negotiate with him a coin or maybe he will risk everything for him. all. Sometimes we think that God is coming to take us away, strip us or rob us like the first characters who negotiated because perhaps like them our hands are still very full of rice or bananas, like the apes we talked about two weeks ago, or we are fond of our cheeses and we create strategies and justifications to maintain them, but perhaps we are already at the perfect point on the road, outside of Jericho, ready to find the Master. It all depends on how honest we are with ourselves.

Bartimaeus had gone blind, the gospel does not tell us as in other cases that he was blind from birth, this condition led him to be a beggar sitting by the side of the road, he recognizes his situation of total poverty, he knows that life has gone depriving you of your goods and you have nothing to lose. When life beats us down and we fall like a coconut, because we had climbed to the top of the palm tree! When the hurricanes arrive that destroy everything and we have no choice but to hug the palm tree to save our lives because everything was carried away by the current! When we have been ruined, in material, spiritual, and moral misfortune, there where we can humbly admit that we have nothing to defend because in front of the mirror of our eyes, when we are alone with ourselves there is nothing we can hide because we know how miserable we are! It is there Jericho. Do you have any Jericó that you still don't accept?

On this side of the road to Jericho, where we beg for a little affection to be valued, recognized, loved and where we settle for any crumb, we see Bartimaeus who, however, has not lost something: hearing. Bartimaeus does not see, but he HEARS, and he has a discerning ear, very discerning. In the midst of a multitude of noises, he knows that Jesus is passing by and without mincing words, in full voice and despite the bitterness of the people who want to silence this useless beggar, SHOUTS, because he also has a tongue left to shout , has the courage not only because he no longer has anything to lose but because he knows he can win, and he screams and screams and screams; and his cry is deafening because in it is a request that does not leave the heart of the Lord immune Jesus Son of David have mercy on me!, show me mercy have mercy on me (eleson me ἐλέησόν με) and repeats it to exhaustion.

And we, do we get tired? Or does shame make us keep quiet and in the end proud?

I remember as a child, after making my first communion, I didn't want to go to confession anymore because I always said I fall into the same sin, what's the point? But I did not realize, except with the passage of time, that this acknowledging my sin and exposing it with shame before myself and before the missionaries who knew me, which was turning me into that Bartimaeus who by dint of shouting my misery was breaking my pride and self-sufficiency and receiving grace, made me stronger and stronger to overcome that same misery.

And how wonderful when thosemissionaries Knowing me, however, they said to me like the crowd to the blind man, after Jesus calls him: Courage, get up, he calls you! And not only do you get up with the courage to move on, but you are able, like the blind man, to jump and throw off your cloak to come to Jesus (Mc 10,50).

Bartimaeus only had his mantle left, perhaps gnawed, dirty, old, but it covered him and was the only possession that no one could take from him (according to the biblical texts of the AT because it would deserve divine rebuke) but he threw it away, he stripped himself because the teacher the Son of David called him. I cannot imagine that moment when the blind man is in front of Jesus without being able to look at him but listens to his voice, perhaps he asked him to touch his face to imagine it better, perhaps it was enough for him to hear that voice who was not indifferent to his cry and stopped to call him, that voice full of mercy and not rebuke... perhaps the blind man cried when he heard Jesus ask him: what do you want me to do for you?

He did not call him to give him a handout but to ask, as is his custom and his method: ask to get the best out of us, what do you want me to do for you? and Bartimaeus does not doubt: Let him see! Nothing more and nothing less. Do you think I can do this? Well, this will be done but according to your faith! This is indeed a challenge for us, faith will be the thermometer that will do it, but it could not be possible if Jesus were not there to make them understand. And he sets an example for all listeners, the characters of Mc 10 and the crowd that follows him but only to the outskirts of Jericho.

But the greatest miracle of this faith is having the availability of the third man or type of binary, type of availability and will, which will ignite in him the desire to throw away the cloak (throw: apobalonἀποβαλὼν) filthy and old but that was the only thing he had to cover himself, the will to jump (anapedésasἀναπηδήσας) with decision also leaving his shore on the way, because he is risking everything and above all to set out with Jesus to follow him (akoloutheōἀκολουθέω). Bartimaeus, now, free and available, with a past forgiven and misery healed, all he has to do is enjoy setting out because he has found Jesus, the treasure that nothing and no one can take away from him.

This is the miracle of letting go of the cloak, of leaving the edge of the road seated and comfortable to set out and follow the teacher, and it is the miracle that so many who go before us have already experienced and encourage us to take this decisive and qualitative leap. for example the pilgrim of the pumpkin, crazy and beggar for Christ, that is, Saint Ignatius of Loyola. 

Saint Ignatius in full conversion and while purifying his deep affections and attachments, he who had wanted to be a great army captain, now wants to do great works for Christ. One day on his way as a pilgrim to the sanctuary of Montserrat in Barcelona, he meets an Arab with whom he discussed issues about the Virgin Mary, but he could not convince him and the Arab left him; Ignacio, feeling that he had done wrong for not having convinced him, headed for the path that the Arab had passed him by, but arriving at a crossroads, not knowing which path to choose, he decided that he would let his mule, without the rein, decide the path. if he went the way the Moor had taken, he would catch up with him and grab him with his fists, but if he took the other way called the royal road, he would leave things alone. Surely the Lord at that time provided the mule with so much intelligence that it left for the royal road, if not our impulsive Ignacio would have gone to confront the Arab with his fists, hahaha.

When Ignacio later arrived at the Sanctuary, in front of the altar of Our Lady of Monserrate, he was determined to leave his clothes and put on the arms of Christ. On the eve of Our Lady of March at night, in the year 1522, she went as secretly as she could to a poor man, and stripping herself of all her clothes, she gave them to a poor man, and dressed in her desired sackcloth dress. A sack, which was not very woven and had many spikes, he bought a staff and a pumpkin to carry water on his pilgrim way.

Ignacio not only was not afraid of leaving his elegant clothes and his cloak to a beggar on the road, but he also learned to shed the cloak of his pride, for not having conquered the Arab, and his cloak of violence, because he would have been capable of to grab him with his fists, even in the name of God.

Lord help me to besincere @ with mesame @ to discover my blind spots, my new and expensive or dirty and filthy cloaks to which I am attached, with which I escape and with which I delay my surrender to you in my real and daily life!

Lord, help me not to be afraid to see the petty negotiations that I do with you in exchange for following you, because they do not make me more than a petty scoundrel... "I am too important to give you something of myself, it is you who have to grant me this , this and this if you want me to follow you...!

Lord, let me fearlessly stop the massive noises of the thousand justifications that I make within my conscience because I do not want to recognize my miseries, those justifications with which I try to silence the deepest cry of my heart: Have mercy on me!

Make me enter the logic of Bartimaeus the blind man who in front of you is a begging beggar, a shameless beggar, not a beggar scoundrel! Because I have not yet delivered the offering of my bound heart; You know it well, I must understand that my eyes are still closed (song below).

That I can without mincing words dare to shout at you from the bottom of my misery! Lord Son of David have mercy on me, have mercy and compassion on me and take away this blindness that leaves me deluded in material goods, in petty honors in ephemeral pleasures. 

I close my eyes and listen while praying!

Click here to listen to the song:

Fly again!

Cristobal Fones sj.

I know that your eyes have looked at me and your patience has waited for me, but here I am, you see again tangled up. I know you know my wounds I know you pick up the falls but you see, I find it hard to believe that you still walk by my side.

Give me the cross, I give you my cross,

give me your hand

Only then can I give myself completely

and walk again through the air

like the leaf that moves with your wind. (Bis)

It is that I have not yet delivered the offering of my bound heart; You know it well, I must understand that my eyes are still closed. Take my fire, take my mud at last I understand what was planned. Here I am Lord I try to be your beloved son

Give me the cross, I give you my cross...

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