Today’s Gospel at Mass was the one from Mark about Bartimaeus, the blind man who asked Jesus for his sight. Two things struck me about this Gospel message as it relates to 40 Days for Life. First, the persistence of Bartimaeus. Mark tells us he “kept calling out” to Jesus: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” That means he called out to Jesus at least several times. Whether Jesus didn’t hear Bartimaeus at first or whether He was just allowing him to call out multiple times, as a demonstration of his faith, we don’t know. What we do know is that Bartimaeus was persistent, and Jesus eventually replied to him. And He gave Bartimaeus what he requested. Now, in 2015, through the gift of His Word, we are certain He hears us. We are certain He knows we are faithful. And we are certain He will answer our plea for the end of abortion, in His time. And so we keep calling out to Jesus!
The other aspect of this Gospel message that struck me is that Bartimaeus really really wanted to see – “Master, I want to see!” he said. We, too, really really want to see, don’t we? I know myself that I want so badly to see the end of abortion. I want to see the Great Day of the Lord, I want to see every knee bow before Him, and I want to see Him make everything right. And I know we WILL see those things, in His time. We should concentrate on those things of course; we need to keep our eyes on the prize and run the good race. Which we’re doing, in the struggle to fight abortion. But the priest who said the Mass I attended today brought up another point about our Lord’s gift of true sight. When we ask for that gift of sight, we also have to be prepared to see ourselves clearly. We need to be brave enough, when that bright Light comes (both during our earthly lives at times, and at the end of them), to face what It will illuminate in our souls. And then we need to be ask the Light to act like a laser and clean everything up in there that keeps us from our purity of purpose and from Him.
Earlybird Heidi faithfully covered the 7-9a shift, and she writes:
My husband, Scott, and I arrived in front of Planned Parenthood at exactly 7am this morning. As usual, the signs and the day’s equipment were being faithfully delivered by the D. family. Everything could have felt “as usual” except for the fact that there were numerous barricades, no parking signs, Pittsburgh police, and even police dogs. Not a lot of time passed before we were approached by an officer who told us the EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler road race was coming through and that we would have to keep a clear passageway on the sidewalk. Four prayer warriors…Mike, Tom, and Jim…from St. Damien of Molokai Parish in Monongahela as well as Vince from St. Sebastian Parish joined us for the shift.
As we began to pray, I noticed how methodically the city prepared for this race which included police dogs searching the streets and trash cans for any possible threat to the runners. After preparations were made, we had well over an hour of quiet on the sidewalk for intercessory prayer interspersed with testimonies of praise and thanksgiving for the many mercies of our infinitely loving God. As we approached 9am however, the music was turned up at the finish line that was just about two blocks down Liberty Avenue from PP. Soon the runners were seen pressing for the goal with everything they had to give…their faces set like flint and their bodies in full submission to the desire to win the race…who could not marvel at such determination and passion? Supporters who had come to cheer on their loved ones could be heard sharing the excitement of the victory as running times were announced. As we approach our last week of this 40 Days vigil, I couldn’t help but to reflect on how we’re completing yet another race of our own in defense of all human life, especially the most vulnerable…the unborn. I’m so humbled and honored to be a part of the Pittsburgh 40 Days for Life vigil team. A team, under the courageous and tireless leadership of Nikki Bruni, that is comprised of so many inspiring leaders as well as faith-filled prayer warriors from all around our diocese and beyond. Like the Pittsburgh police this morning who methodically prepared for the road race, I have observed the vigil leaders expertly prepare, identify as well as protect against any potential threat, and most of all, go the distance with all the faithful 40 Days participants who have pressed on with great determination and passion for the hope of the sure victory set before us in Christ Jesus…all glory and thanksgiving to God! In Him, Heidi (Philippians 3:13,14)
Our wonderful Nikki covered 9-11a, and she writes:
It sure was a lively morning on Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh today with the Great Race in full swing! I had to run my own little race just to cross Liberty to get to my shift by running in between the runners! Three brothers in Christ were there from St. Damien of Molokai in Monongahela, and had been there since 7am. They stayed until 11am. Tom, Mike and Jim were an inspiration to stand with! Also there was Vince from St. Sebastian, and my husband Joe. It was very noisy, with the loudspeaker blasting music from the finish line, which was just a block away…so we didn’t do a whole lot of praying, other than one rosary. We mainly just held our signs and witnessed to the thousands of runners that passed us by. Many, many people noticed us and got the message that life is worth standing up for! Mostly positive comments, although there were some negatives. Thank you guys for coming out today!
Rich and Roseann, covering 11a-1p, write:
St. Bernard’s was the church scheduled for our shift. Pat and Sue and their five children came to pray and witness. Phil, Cynthia, and Joe joined us. Time goes by fast when you are surrounded by such good company.
Above: Sue and Pat and their five children, along with Rich and Roseann, and Joe
Marshall covered 1-3p. He writes:
Thanks and appreciation to the kind witnesses from St. Bernard in Mt. Lebanon and several others. Thanks to the previous shift managers for their patience as I had to travel into the city from a long detour. Is it myself, or has time gone fast in this particular campaign? The negative remarks and the loud city traffic did not stop us from praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet and a Rosary. One more week, trying to finish strong!
Above: Phil, Cynthia and Joe from St. Bernard in Mt. Lebanon
Above: Bud, Meme and Pat witnessing to Life from 1 to 3 shift
Above: Norma and Tom H., Marie P., Jo L., Emilie B. and Beth P., from St. Alphonsus
No reports yet from the last two shifts….but here are some photos that were sent in:
This upcoming week is our last week of this 40 Days campaign. We are getting ready to cross this finish line. But please see below – we still need prayer warriors in time slots every day to keep the ‘race’ going through Sunday. If no one comes during all of the times below, our shift managers will be alone! Can you come down any of these times?
Monday, Oct. 26 – 10-11a
Tuesday, Oct. 27 – 2-3p
Wednesday, Oct. 28 – 7-9a
Friday, Oct. 30 – 9-11a AND 6-7p
Saturday, Oct. 31 – 7-8a
If you can help out, please click HERE and sign up.
I just saw on the news that unfortunately a runner died shortly after he passed the finish line at the Great Race today. Let us pray that he will see and live in the great Light and Life of our Lord Jesus.
May God bless all of you!