Memorial of St. Peter Claver, Apostle to Africans Enlighten Me LORD!

Today’s Good News comes from Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, through which Jesus began to teach his disciples the morality of the Kingdom of God, which brings true beatitude. Today’s passage underscores the fact that judgment belongs to God alone. His disciples are called to be merciful and forgiving like the Master. By his parables, Jesus shines light into the darkness of our sinful hearts and illuminates the path of life as Christian disciples. Like blind Bartimaeus, let us cry out to Jesus, son of David: “Master let me see!” and then like him, let us follow Jesus with the light of this faith. (Mk 10:51-52)

The Blind Leading the Blind

In the first parable of the Gospel reading, Jesus tells them that when a blind man tries to lead another blind person, disaster will befall them both. The solutions are a guide dog, a probing cane, or the miracle of sight. Christians receive the miracle of sight with the sacrament of baptism. It brings enlightenment because it gives birth to sons and daughters of light. This is why the newly baptized or their god parents are given lighted candles. When the disciples are fully trained by the Master, Jesus Christ, they walk in the light as He is in the light, avoiding the obstacles of sin.

Jesus came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He challenged the scribes and pharisees who had caught a woman in the act of adultery and were ready to put her to death. “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (Jn 8:7) The parable of foreign bodies in the eye, a speck, and a log, makes this point with the hyperbole that many parables use. I know that this parable comes to mind whenever I go to confession, because I tend to be a judgmental person. How many times I have heard Jesus’ correcting voice, “Hypocrite.” This leads me to cry out with contrition along with Bartimaeus, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Self-Inflicted Stains

What are these specks and these logs? They are the self-inflicted stains on our souls due to lack of charity or a lack of humility. Light diffuses the love of God. A Christian reflects this light when he wills the good of his neighbor. He enters the darkness when he looks down on others. (I Jn 2:9) It is not enough to know the commands, the truth. We Christians must learn to see our neighbors through the merciful eyes of our Savior.

Today’s saint, the Jesuit priest, St. Peter Claver, showed us how to do this. In the 17th C, CE, he served the African slaves brought to Cartagena, Columbia. He descended into foul, dark cargo ship holds to give water and fruit to hungry and thirsty men, washed their wounds with wine and spoke kindly to those who had known only curses and whips. Claver shone the light of Love into the darkness of hell. He then instructed them in the rudiments of the Catholic faith with the help of native speaking catechists and was said to have baptized 300,000 men. He proudly called himself a slave of the Africans.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please enlighten me today!

[Readings: 1 COR 9:16-19, 22B-27; LK 6:39-42]

Dr. David Cooper

Dr. David Cooper OP Dr. David Cooper OP converted to Catholicism 16 years ago and became a life promised Lay Dominican 8 years ago. He is grateful for 50 years of marriage, two daughters and 5 grandchildren. He is a retired rehab doctor with a passion for medical missions, having served in Thailand, India, Cameroon and Honduras. His current mission field is in the Texas state prison system where he is active in the Kolbe Prison Ministries. He also mentors men who are in Lay Dominican formation. [email protected]


  1. Steve Wee on September 9, 2022 at 9:00 am

    Thank you David for the reminder of mercy over judgement, so easily ignored in our world.

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