(From memory of what my now-misplaced notes said...)
The first reading and the psalm describe joy--
specifically, the joy God's People felt
when they were allowed to return from exile to their homeland.
As I reflected on the readings, I found myself thinking about
what things give us cause for joy?
Some things that are more permanent, others that are transitory--
such as a Buckeye's win: enjoy it while it lasts!
And I also found myself thinking about the moments I get to witness that joy, in you!
A week ago Saturday, we had a wedding--
and I got to see the joy in the face of the couple just as they gave their vows:
I get to see them the first instant they are married!
Then, some time later, I see their joy again when they return with a child to be baptized.
And I think about the joy of our second-graders,
when they first receive the sacrament of reconciliation;
they may not be able to explain fully what it means,
but you can see they experience real joy.
And then, of course, when they come for their first communion.
Even our 8th graders--they often want to keep cool, not show any emotion, but--
when they come before the Archbishop, and receive the sacrament of confirmation,
some of the hardest cases are grinning like kids on Christmas day!
These are all experiences of the Holy Spirit, of course--
but even these supernatural experiences of joy don't always last.
They can fade, whether because of spiritual inertia, or laziness,
or sin, or the busy-ness of life.
I remember the day of my own ordination as a priest--and what a joy that was.
But I have to admit, when I find my own joy isn't up where it had been,
it's pretty often because I need to get to confession,
or I need to stir up my prayer life, or look at how my priorities may be skewed.
The true cause for joy is not anything we receive, but the One who gives them.
That's what we saw in the Gospel. Bartimaeus received what he asked for--
and the Lord said, you can go your way;
and yet Bartimaeus didn't do that, he followed the Lord.
Because he came to see--once his eyes were opened--
that it was the Lord that he really wanted.
The question the Lord asked Bartimaeus, he asks us:
"What do you wish me to do for you?"