Being a Catholic Christian is not easy. It is the most difficult life to live because of the trials, struggles, persecution and hardships we have to face. Many times we feel like giving up especially after doing our best and still falling short of our spiritual goals and dreams. But we really need to think about and find out what makes it impossible for us to make changes in our spiritual life? What is the reason why we keep on falling short of achieving our spiritual dreams and goals? What obstacles we face or experience that frustrates our continual spiritual growth? What are our biggest flaws or temptations and how to deal with those flaws or fight those temptations? These might be some of the things that dampen our spirits as we strive to become better christians and as we answer our call to discipleship. But today’s first reading and gospel reading point out that we can be victorious in these struggles that we face in our spiritual lives. God tells us in our first reading today from the Book of Prophet Jeremiah 31:7-9 that we should not worry or give up, but “Shout with joy, exult at the head of the nations; proclaim His praise and say: The LORD has delivered his people,.. They departed in tears, but He will console us and guide us; leading us to brooks of water, on a level road, so that none shall stumble. For He is our father.” In our second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews 5:1-6, we are reminded that we are members of God’s priesthood and have been chosen by Him, hence, we have to keep on working hard and never give up.

In today’s gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Mark 10:46-52, we are taught how to be better disciples of Christ as well as how to be victorious in our spiritual struggles. Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, teaches us three very important things that will lead us to victory in our spiritual lives and struggles. When Bartimaeus heard it was Jesus who was passing by, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me." And even when many people there rebuked him, telling him to be silent, he kept calling out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me.” Bartimaeus by calling on Jesus to have pity in him, tells us that the first step in overcoming the struggles we face in our spiritual lives is by deepening our faith in God. It was the FAITH of Bartimaeus that made him reach out to Jesus for help and healing. He had faith in Jesus and believed that Jesus will heal him. How strong is your faith in God and how do you deepen your faith in Him? Faith is complete trust or confidence or belief in God. Do we completely trust in God? Do we really have total confidence in Him? Do we truly believe in Him?

Bartimaeus’s calling out to Jesus saying "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me," is a reminder to us to pray to God always. Remember PRAYER is our conversation with God in which we worship Him, praise Him, adore Him, thank Him for all He does for us in our lives and ask Him for our needs. So the cry or shouting of Bartimaeus to Jesus saying "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me," is his prayer of supplication for healing. How often do we pray? When we pray, do we look at prayers as something difficult to do or something overwhelming and burdensome for us? Do we pray with heartfelt sincerity in our conversation with God? Do we pray like Bartimaeus with complete trust and Hope in God?
In order to overcome our spiritual challenges and struggles or fight the temptations that come our way, we have to be PERSEVERING in our spiritual lives and daily practices. In today’s gospel reading when many people were rebuking Bartimaeus, telling him to be silent, he kept calling out all the more thereby showing us that we should never give up rather we should work harder to achieve our spiritual goals and fulfill our spiritual dreams. Since Perseverance is the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition, we are taught today by the example of Bartimaeus to continually be steadfast in working hard in our spiritual lives and in proclaiming the gospel of Christ.

My dear brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters of Christ, we will face and experience challenges, struggles, difficulties, and hardships in our spiritual lives and in living out the gospel of Christ, but if we truly want to overcome all these and be victorious in our spiritual lives, we have to follow the example of Bartimaeus by constantly deepening our faith in God, by praying always and be persevering as disciples of Christ. Amen!