Archive for October 22nd, 2021

Mike and the Beggar 10-24-2021

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

A few years ago a father and mother sent this open letter to the
parents and students of a high school in a southern city.
Dear Teens & Parents:
We buried our son Thursday. He got into bed Tuesday night and very
deliberately took his own life.
Mike was bright, handsome, witty, shy and with ease did well in
school. His phone rang constantly and his friends were in and out of the
house all the time. The Coroner’s report showed no drugs.
In reality Mike had lots of friends. Each individual, however, has
their own perception of reality. Sunday night, Mike got drunk and we
had a long talk, and for the first time we realized that our rosy perception
of the state of his life wasn’t his. He was very sad. He felt his friends
didn’t care about him – even though we know they DID.
We believe you all can help God make this world a happier place
to live. Somewhere between the ages of 20 and 35, people begin to feel secure enough to tell their friends “I love you” or “I’m glad you’re my
friend”. Please be brave, because at your age it is a scary, chancy thing
to say; but please tell your friends that they are your friends and you do
care. This is most important because a person can feel most alone when
surrounded by people.
There are also some in your school who truly have no friends.
Their phone never rings and friends never come over. Please make
friends with them. They are really lonely. If Mike felt such despair
when he had friends, just imagine the sadness and loneliness those
teenagers must feel and endure.
God put each of us on earth to do good and bring joy. Please help
make Mike’s death bring love and joy to the world in a concrete manner.
Growing up is very hard and there is so much each of you must
sort out for yourself. Your parents and family are there, but your peers
are so important too. Please, please open your hearts and tell your
friends how much they mean to you. – Love to you all.
The letter was signed by Mike’s mother and father. It took a lot of love and courage for Mike’s parents to write that letter. That’s what makes it so beautiful. That’s what makes it so
powerful. That’s what makes it a letter that every young person and
parent should read.
I think it’s especially appropriate for us to read it today, because
the blind beggar in today’s gospel might well have been about Mike’s
age.
Like Mike, he was trying to reach out to Jesus as best he knew
how. And like Mike, he sought help from those around him.
But like young Mike, instead of getting help from those around
him, the blind beggar got just the opposite. Instead of getting support
from the crowd, he got abuse and outright rejection.
Today’s gospel says that when the beggar called out to Jesus, “Son
of David! Have mercy on me!” many people yelled at him and told him
to keep quiet.
In other words, instead of taking the beggar by the hand and
leading him to Jesus, they took him by the neck and shoved him farther
away from Jesus. Only one person came to the beggar’s aid. And who was that person? It was none other than Jesus himself. When Jesus heard the
people shouting at the beggar, he stopped and asked that the beggar be
brought to him. Only then did the people change. Only then did they
help the unfortunate man.
Today’s gospel prompts us to ask ourselves, how many Mike’s and
how many blind beggars are there in today’s world?
How many of these Mike’s and how many of these blind beggars
are trying to reach out to Jesus?
How many of these Mike’s and how many of these blind beggars
are being treated the way the people treated the blind beggar in today’s
gospel?
How many of us, perhaps even without realizing it, are
discouraging these Mike’s and these blind beggars?
Even more to the point, today’s Gospel invites us to ask ourselves,
who are the Mike’s and the blind beggars in our own lives and what are
we doing to help?