The Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]
Jeremiah 31:7-9 + Hebrews 5:1-6 + Mark 10:46-52
October 28, 2018
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
Reflect on how the greatest gift—the strongest virtue—that Jesus offers is the virtue of caritas (sometimes simply called “charity”, or “love”). The Joyful, Luminous and Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary lead to the Glorious Mysteries in the way that the chapters of a novel lead to its climax. So too, the virtues of the Christian life lead to its goal: the divine virtue of caritas; divine charity; divine love: the life of the Trinity who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
When Jesus releases Bartimaeus by saying, “Go / your / way,” Bartimaeus follows Jesus on Jesus’ way. In other words, for the person with vision—for the one with insight—the Way of Jesus becomes that person’s own way. There is no other way for us to walk if we want true and lasting happiness. Every other path results in a dead-end, or an endless circle going nowhere.
So how do we travel this Way of Jesus? By a wheel. Picture a wheel, and use this image to sum up how the Christian virtues work in concert inside the healthy Christian soul.
The first virtue is humility, which is like the center of the wheel. Humility is the mother of the other virtues, which radiate out from humility.
Then the virtue of prudence is like the wheel’s axle. In other words, prudence is the “inner ear” of the soul, that helps us to keep our balance and to steer us.
Most of the other virtues are like the wheel’s spokes. Consider courage. Courage flows from humility. By contrast, false courage seeks to dominate and make my ego ever larger. But in Christian humility, I do not worry about my ego. However, this courage still has to be steered and given balance by prudence. After all, even the martyr has to choose the best time to be courageous: he doesn’t want to be foolhardy, or give up his life for a cause that could be defended more simply.
But what is the goal of this virtue of courage? If the spokes radiate out from humility, and are steered by prudence, where do they radiate out towards? The goal of every virtue is the divine virtue of caritas. Humility leads us to caritas. Prudence leads us to caritas. Courage leads us to caritas.
So in humility, we give up our own self, so that we can be transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Jesus is the divine caritas who became flesh and dwelt among us, for us and our salvation. This is what Bartimaeus learns in Sunday’s Gospel.
This is what happens in the life of every blind person, as he gives up his own way through the world, and instead follows Jesus on the Way: the Way that leads to Calvary, and through Calvary into the eternal life of God.
In other words, this divine virtue of caritas is the wheel’s tire. This “final virtue” is where—so to speak—the rubber hits the road, and your Catholic Faith is actually lived out in your daily life, manifesting love for both God and neighbor.