These days of Christmas are given to us so that we might meditate upon the mystery of the Incarnation. The Incarnation is a joyful mystery, but it is also a luminous mystery – full of light. Light is a very important theme in the scriptures, and of all our senses, we rely to a great extent upon our eyes. Light is what makes the things around us visible, and when we see things, we begin to know them and understand them. The theme of light in the first reading is an invitation to consider a light that is not physical – not the sun, not the flame of candle or fire. We are to consider a spiritual light. What is spiritual light? It is something that makes us know and understand in a deeper way – it causes us to know and understand what we cannot see and know by our eyes. Light for the mind makes us understand reality more completely, we call that light, truth. When you know the truth, your whole mind is full of light: everything else you have known becomes clearer, and things you may not have understood become apparent.
We’re at the very beginning of the Advent Season, and so that will reflect something very particular about our Kairos experience. Kairos is about God’s time, God’s timing, and one of the concrete ways God speaks with us is through the seasons of the year and the liturgical seasons. The word Advent (Adventus) literally contains the word for ‘wind’ – ventus – so we could say Advent also has the sense of “blowing towards” “ad – ventus. ” Advent is a change in the direction of the wind, a change of the air – what was once blowing another direction is now blowing towards us. We also know that wind, air, and breath are the same word as Spirit in the ancient languages of the scriptures. Genesis 1:2, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving (or blowing) over the face of the waters.” The Spirit of God blows across the face of the waters at the beginning of time. At Advent, that same Spirit begins blowing towards us. Our Kairos is happening now, as the wind changes direction, as the Spirit begins blowing towards us. The same Spirit that transformed the empty and formless darkness into the incredible created world in which we live, now moves our way, now blows towards us. He moves towards us to recreate us – to make us completely new.
St. Augustine points out something strange about the healing of Bartimaeus. We know that the prefix “bar-” means “son of,” and so it is kind of redundant to say the Bartimaeus was the son of Timaeus. St. Mark tends to be quick and brief in his Gospel, so if he includes this otherwise redundant fact, we may infer with St. Augustine that Timaeus was well known. We may also infer, with St. Augustine, that Bartimaeus was a disgrace to his father’s name because not only is he blind, but he is left begging on the street. Bartimaeus has been rejected by his father and is left to fend for himself. Whatever Bartimaeus has been or done, not only was he shunned by his father, he is also shunned by those around him – no one feels sorry for him. You can almost hear people saying, “If he were just a blind man, we could have pity on him – the problem is that besides being blind, he is a terrible person!”