Jumping at the Opportunity
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

People who are engaged in business or are running an enterprise know that they have to be sensitive to business opportunities that may arise or are already there waiting to be realized. Opportunities come and go. Successful entrepreneurs see opportunities where others don’t. In my part of the country a thriving business arose out of simple palm fronds. These used to be burned or left to rot after they are cut off from the palm tree. Somebody eventually saw possibilities and experimented with woven palm fronds. These are now in demand, in lieu of plywood, as walling or ceiling materials for houses.

Action starter: Don’t just be good. Be a disciple.

There are many other kinds of opportunities. There are opportunities to meet people and make friends or social opportunities. For those in the academe, the concern of students and teachers is to look for opportunities for scholarships and further studies. Those in the entertainment arts seek opportunities for exposure or for a “break” to showcase their talents. In the work place, employees look for opportunities to advance their career.

This Sunday’s Gospel challenge is: do we seek out opportunities for spiritual growth? By spiritual growth I mean development of our human capacities for compassion and love hand in hand with our growing friendship with the Lord Jesus and sensitivity to that which pleases God.

The Gospel portrayed Bartimaeus as one who was waiting by the side of the road, waiting for that moment when Jesus would pass by. He knew he had this one chance to be healed and he was not about to let go of this opportunity, no matter what people would say. The beauty of the story was that Bartimaeus was not contented with having been given the gift of sight. Not only did he grab the opportunity to be healed. He jumped at the opportunity to be a disciple. Compare his response with last Sunday’s rich young man who hesitated and therefore lost his chance at the adventure of a lifetime. Allowing our fantasy to work, we can go fast forward thirty years later. Bartimaeus was telling his grandchildren about that miracle by the road and how he became a disciple. It made such a joyful difference in his life. On the other hand, the rich young man who was a good man has become a respected elder in his community, with loving children and grandchildren. But whenever he tells the story about meeting Jesus on the road, he shakes his head and says, “ I could have joined the band of disciples.”

There is joy and adventure in Christian discipleship.