FIRST READING Jeremiah 31:7-9
Thus says the Lord: Shout with joy for Jacob, exult at the head of the nations; proclaim your praise and say: The Lord has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child; they shall return as an immense throng. They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them; I will lead them to brooks of water, on a level road, so that none shall stumble. For I am a father to Israel, Ephraim is my first-born.
SECOND READING Hebrews 5:1-6
Brothers and sisters: Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was. In the same way, it was not Christ who glorified himself in becoming high priest, but rather the one who said to him: You are my son: this day I have begotten you; just as he says in another place: You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
GOSPEL Mark 10:46-52
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
My sisters and brothers in Christ,
“The Lord has delivered his people.” The Prophet [Jeremiah] tells us clearly about the love that God has for His people. God will do all things for His people. God will reach out into time and history to draw us to Himself. Yes, God can be tough and God at times seems to treat His people poorly—but the truth is that God always acts out of love. We don’t always act of love and so when our actions are tough or seemingly hurtful to others, they might be. With God, His actions are never hurtful to others, but only an expression of His complete love.
The first reading today is from the Prophet Jeremiah. This prophet wants us to shout with joy because we recognize that God is always with His people, drawing us to Himself, bringing us out of darkness into light, drawing us from slavery to freedom and finally, drawing us to Himself in every way possible. Perhaps this is not how we understand our lives yet. Perhaps for some of us, there is a sense that God cannot possibly love us. Perhaps for others there is a sort of absence of God. On the other hand, the Scripture is God’s own revealed word, and God is telling us today: “I love you and I have always loved you. I will draw you to myself.”
The second reading is from the Letter to the Hebrews. This letter, today, continues the teaching of the first reading: I love you and have always loved you! The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that “He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness.” It is Jesus who deals patiently with the ignorant and the erring. It is Jesus who has taken on our human flesh, our human reality, and so can understand completely our human condition. Jesus can offer Himself for us because He became one of us, like us in everything except for sin.
The Gospel of Mark today tells us about a blind man who was strong enough to keep calling out to Jesus until he was heard. So many of us give up on our praying and our asking God because we don’t get what we want when we want it. Instead, this blind man can teach us to pray always, to keep insisting with God that He must hear us.
So we have the teachings given us by Jesus: Through Jeremiah that God always loves us and wants us to come to Him; through the Letter to the Hebrews that God in Jesus carries us with Him and helps the ignorant and those who go astray, which means that God in Jesus is loving us right now; and through today’s Gospel that we must keep crying out to the Lord and insisting that the Lord hear us.
What a God of love we have. He is always seeking us, always helping us and always inviting us to keep calling out to Him. He will come to save us!
Your brother in the Lord,