Reflection for the Solemnity of Christ the King

Do you know a good podiatrist?
My Achilles is bothering me.

“His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, His kingship shall not be destroyed.”

We may recall the myth of Achilles from our school days.

The gods gave Achilles’ mother a choice as to how her son’s life should be: short but glorious or long but obscure. Fearing for her son’s safety, Achilles’ mother chose long but obscure. His mother also bargained with the gods for additional protection from harm. They told her to immerse Achilles in the waters of the Styx River, which would immunize him from all harm. His mother did this, holding onto Achilles by the ankle. Of course, this part of the boy did not receive the protection of the gods, and proved to be Achilles downfall. Achilles died after being shot in the ankle by Paris’ arrow during the battle of Troy.

From this mythology we derive the term Achilles heel. It is the weakness, the failings we all have. We certainly have many positive and wonderful qualities, certain skills and talents, those things (and there are many) that make us special. We also know that we have that Achilles heel, the particular sin, shortcoming, or weakness that might well prove to be our downfall.

For podiatrists, the Achilles tendon is the tendon of in the back of the leg that attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. Injuries to this tendon can require long healing time and rehabilitation.

We set aside this Sunday to recognize and celebrate the kingship of Christ. What does Achilles have to do with the kingship of Jesus?

It is in this: That Jesus as Lord and King of all things, and most particularly of our hearts and souls, has the power to overcome our Achilles heels.

Our Achilles heels lead to injury, in ourselves and in others. We might not even recognize our Achilles heels! We may think we are relatively ok.

The reality is we all lay unprotected, vulnerable, injured, in need to healing and rehabilitation. When we recognize this we might try to fix it ourselves, but that is not possible. Rather we need to throw ourselves on the mercy of our King, relying on Him. With Him we have the grace to overcome as well as His healing.

Our King, Jesus Christ, is the absolute guarantor of protection, of healing, renewal, and eternal life. Our lives will not be long and uneventful with Him. Making Him the Lord, worshiping, adoring, relying on, and serving Him, fixes every weakness in us, and gives us unending life in His Kingdom.

Reflection for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Go your way.
Your way is my way Lord.

“Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your faith has saved you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Bartimeus literally means Bar-Timeus – the son of Timeus. People saw the son of Timeus as a man without hope. He sat along the road, a blind beggar.

Bartimeus had heard of Jesus and his miracles, and learned that He was passing by. He was filled with hope – he knew that through Jesus, the Messiah, he might recover his eyesight.

Bartimeus came to Jesus for help. As we face the week, and the months ahead, with storms, anxieties, the pressures of holidays (imposed by the world’s view of what the holidays are – not the Church’s view), and other stresses, we must know that we may come to Jesus with the same hope that Bartimeus had – hope for help.

Like Bartimeus, we have heard of Jesus, and we know His miracles. We know that He isn’t just passing by, but is with us at every moment. Like Bartimeus we have every right to call out to Him in hope. “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!

God truly delivers help and healing. He delivered Israel from bondage and brought them back. They left in tears and sinfulness and returned on level roads rejoicing. Likewise He gathers us in, protects us, and delivers us when we call out to Him.

As Jesus called to Bartimeus, He calls to us. Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The gracious call of Jesus gives us hope to come to him in our need. If we come to him in hope we shall have what we came for. He will open our eyes to the miracles and wonders guaranteed to His children.

Bartimeus cast aside his garments. We too must cast away the garment of self-sufficiency, and free of the weight of doubt we may go forward with clear eyes. Jesus clears our vision, lifting all the weights that bear down on us.

Now it is up to us. Jesus told Bartimeus – receive your sight, be it unto you as you desire. “Go your way,” that is, to your own house, about your own business.

Bartimeus was given the choice that is in front of all of us. Jesus gives us what we ask for and gives us the opportunity to see clearly. Bartimeus saw clearly and chose to follow Jesus – to Jerusalem and beyond.

Bartimeus saw not just physically, but with the eyes of faith. As we face our anxieties, let us ask Jesus for the help we hope for, the hope He has guaranteed. Then let us respond with eyes of faith to follow Him.