The crowd in this Sunday's Gospel is a piece of work. Blind Bartimaeus is sitting in the dirt, hears Jesus is passing [hearing being especially acute for many blind people] and starts screaming Jesus' name. Many tell him to 'shut up' but that doesn't stop Bart. When Jesus says he :wants to see him, some of this same crowd say wonderful words: "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you." Jesus could have come over to the blind man but he wanted human beings to have a share in this experience of healing by issuing the life-changing invitation.
One of the most attractive aspects of our Catholic faith is devotion to the saints. Not adoration or worship but devotion. Why? Because Jesus our Lord likes to share with other human beings his ministry. When his mother asks him at Cana to help with the lack of wine, he does not say "Why doesn't the steward come to me?" but accedes to Mary's request, allowing her to be the blessed go-between. When Peter wants to know what's going on at the Last Supper, he asks John to put the question to our Lord--and Jesus responds. He invites us to get one or two others to join us in prayer; since God is the God of the living ,the saints, those now in heaven can assist us in our needs here on earth.
Recently two Americans were canonized, a native American named Kateri Tekawitha and a German-born American Sr Marianne Cope. St Kateri only lived four years after her baptism; in that time she experienced being ostracized from her tribe but also a profound love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and a concern for the poor. St Marianne, living a long life, took up the care of lepers on Molokai after Fr Damien died. In her nursing back on the mainland, she was also distinguished by her care for alcoholics.
There are so many ways to answer Jesus' call and that is what the saints teach us. For from taking away from our love for God, the saints enhance our love and service. And not just canonized saints: all of us have been inspired by our fellow human beings who we suspect are now with God, face to face, and silently inviting us "Take courage' get up, Jesus is calling you."
-Fr. Patrick Dooling