(Jer 31:7 - 9; Ps 125:1 - 6; Heb 5:1 - 6; Mk 10:46 - 52)

I got a video this week of a lady called Tererai who is one of Oprah’s all - time favourite guest. She was born in a village in Zimbabwe. Her father believed young girls should not go to school. So, to keep busy, she taught herself how to read and write. Soon, she was doing her brother’s homework for him. When his teacher found out, he begged her dad to let her attend school. Her father finally agreed and Tererai was sent to school. However, this did not last because at the age of eleven, Tererai was married off in exchange for a cow. Now married and expecting her fifth child, she felt stuck in a life th at she never wanted, but she never gave up.

Once, an aid worker visited her village and asked women about their greatest dreams. She said her dream was that she wanted to go to America, and have a Masters and a PhD. Impressed by her ambitions and dreams, the aid worker told her something that became Tererai’s life motto: if you believe in your dreams, they are achievable. Inspired, she wrote down her dreams and sealed them in a tin and buried them under a rock. Later, even against her husband’s wish, she enrolled in classes determined to get her school diploma. She toiled in the night to study after the children have gone to bed to study with candlelight. Even though she failed her course twice, she never gave up and finally graduated eight years later. So on after, she was accepted by an American university to do her university studies. Despite all the struggles she went through to feed the family and study in America, she finally made her dream come true: she had her Bachelor, Masters and PhD. Today she st ands as an icon in Zimbabwe opening schools and sending many to school because she never allowed her dreams to be buried. From this story, I can only conclude that we should always focus on our dreams and never let anyone or anything or any circumstance to derail us from that dream. Once we focus on our dreams, God is going to see us through.

This is the message the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus wants to bring to us today. Never allow anyone or anything to distract you from your dreams; be i t your husband or wife, a friend, brother or sister, a teacher, a situation in your life, etc. We are told that Jesus has left Jericho, surely on his way to Jerusalem, with his disciples and a large crowd with him. As they moved on, Bartimaeus, was on his normal schedule at the side of the road begging. He had surely heard of the many healing miracles of Jesus. The gospel tells us that as he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing, he realized that this was the opportune moment for him to achieve his dream of seeing again. As such he began to shout: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me” (Mk 10:47). He knew exactly what he wanted from Jesus and could not allow anyone to derail him from achieving his 2 dream. As he shouted, the crowd instead of taking pity on him, scolded at him and asked him to be quiet. Each time I read this story, I get cold at this verse. How can a blind man be asking Jesus to heal him and others are instead scolding at him and asking him to be quiet? Was he too not a son of Abraham who nee ded God to act in his life? Why should people be that quell? Thank God Bartimaeus was a very courageous man who could not be shaken from his dream just as Tererai in the story above. The more they asked him to be quiet, the more he shouted all the louder. Eventually, Jesus stopped and said: “Call him here”. The same people, may be, who have been ushering him to sit quiet are the are the ones who turned and said to him “Courage, get up, he is calling you”. The question is: why should they be nice only when J esus took notice of him? But that’s how many of us are. Could these people not have been the ones to bring Bartimaeus to Jesus without the man shouting to attract Jesus’ attention?

The same drama that happens in the above passage happens every day in life . People try to dissuade us from our dreams especially when they see that it doesn’t tally with what they are doing or what the ordinary men and women of society are doing. Worse of it, if they find out that what we want to do is going to make you better t han them, they struggle to dissuade you from continuing in that dream. Never allow yourself to be carried away by such people. If you do, then you become a coward because the same people will laugh at you when you give up. But if you eventually succeed, th e same people will come to praise you and pretend that they knew you were going to succeed.

When Bartimaeus was called up to get to Jesus, he treated this as a matter of urgency. He sprang up and immediately went to Jesus. In a soft and gentle voice, Jesu s asked Bartimaeus what he wanted him to do for him. Bartimaeus response was straight to the point because he knew his dream was to be healed. He immediately told Jesus that he wants to see again. And immediately, Jesus told him to go because his faith has saved him. Thereafter, he could see again because his sight returned. Rather than go his way, he followed Jesus along the road, surely singing and praising God for the wonders he has done to him through his son Jesus.

Dear friends in Christ, in his blind ness, the only dream of Bartimaeus was to see again someday. He saw in Jesus, the man who could help him accomplish that dream. That is why he never hesitated when he heard Jesus was passing by. He knew the moment of his deliverance had dawned. In deed he received his sight, despite the stumbling blocks that seemed to come from the people who were moving with Jesus. They wanted to derail Bartimaeus from realizing his dream, but he never allowed himself to be taken by that.

What about you the elderly persons in this chu rch today? What were your dreams? Did you accomplish them or still working on them? Or are you one of those who buried their dreams or allowed others to derail them from their dreams. The truth is that once we don’t achieve our dreams in life, life becomes miserable because we spend our time regretting instead of moving ahead. So, never allow anyone or anything to derail you from your dreams.

To the young boys and girls in this church today, life is very beautiful and swift as well. It comes with too many offers. Sometimes, our dreams are clear in our minds. At other times, they become clouded especially because of dissenting voices from peers, family members, the world and mass media have to offer. When I moved along the streets and see the many street men and women, I asked myself: they had no dreams? I don’t think so. For some of them, they allowed temporal enjoyment and pleasure to cease that dream away from them. For whatever reason, don’t allow someone or something to cease your dream away from you. We leave today in a world where there are many things that can distract us from our dreams: the smart phones, the TV, our friends, false hopes in pleasure, etc. These things steal our study and work time and leave us only with momentary satisfaction. The tim e for our studies or work is therefore not utilize and that cannot help us in realizing our dreams.

What we must learn today from blind Bartimaeus is that our dreams must always be surrendered in God’s hands. Pray about them, ask God to direct you and leave the rest to Him. He heard Bartimaeus and is ready to hear you as well. God heard him. Therefore, all our dreams, should follow our passions and what we are good at. Leave all in Jesus’ hands and he will see you through. We must be quick to res pond like Bartimaeus because just a minute delay can ruin everything.

May we pray for the graces today to pray for God to show us our focus or dreams and for the graces to focus on these without letting anyone or anything take us away from that dream.

  - Fr. Rinda