By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton


This picture shows one of the panels on the holy door at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. I have always loved it, and it speaks beautifully of the Good Shepherd reaching out to save the lost. That's the reason for hope.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Let me See!

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of receiving representatives of our First Nations and Metis brothers and sisters, together with their leaders, at Saint Joseph’s Basilica to celebrate together the canonization of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. This was followed by a private luncheon, during which we shared stories of the events surrounding the canonization and its significance for all of us.

The Sunday Gospel reading from Saint Mark (10:46-52) helps us to appreciate how Kateri, even though she lived and died in the 1600s, remains an instructive witness for us today. It is the story of the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, receiving the gift of sight from Jesus. Kateri shared with Bartimaeus the condition of limited sight, and, reflecting on the name Tekakwitha, I remarked in my blog of last week how the Lord had given to her the gift of inner vision, by which she could see clearly the beauty of God’s saving plan. Consideration of her baptismal name, Kateri, opens avenues of yet further reflection upon the gift of sight that comes from Christ.

The English translation of Kateri is Catherine, which means “pure,” Remember the words of Jesus as he preached his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The gift of a pure heart enables us to see the beauty of God and his wondrous plan. The opposite of a pure heart is a divided one. A pure heart seeks only God and the accomplishment of the divine will. A divided heart is concerned with things other than God, grasps after that which really does not matter, places created realities above the Creator. To the degree that our hearts are divided, we share in common with Bartimaeus the sad state of blindness. Blind to the beauty of God and his salvific teaching, we, like the blind beggar, sit at the side of the road unable to walk the path that leads to life.

Jesus asked Bartimaeus: “What do you want me to do for you?” To this Bartimaeus replied, “My teacher, let me see again.” To ask to see is to ask for the gift of a pure heart. Jesus poses to each of us the same question: “What do you want me to do for you?” Let us, without hesitation, ask for this gift of an undivided, a pure, heart. This is something we cannot attain by our own efforts. It is the gift of Jesus, by which he restores us to sight.