Tuesday, October 20, 2015

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Are there times where you feel “unworthy?”  It’s a feeling we have all experienced at one time or another.  No matter how severely you may feel this way, however, our readings this week remind us that God is there for us, always...

Jeremiah 31:7-9
Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Hebrews 5:1-6
Mark 10:46-52

Our first reading comes from the book of the Prophet Jeremiah.  As you may remember, Jeremiah came to his calling as a prophet under King Josiah, the great reformer of the later Southern Kingdom of Judah.  Jeremiah saw the eventual downfall of the kingdom and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, but even though he foresaw the fall of Judah, this week’s passage gives us a vision of redemption and hope… that God will restore the people of Israel.  Even in the midst of impending tragedy, Jeremiah could see God’s great mercy.  How can Jeremiah be so confident of our redemption?  It’s found in our Psalm as we sing, “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”  God has saved us before, and if we turn to him, he will be there for us.

This faith in God and his mercy is mirrored in our Gospel from Mark.  Picking up where we left off last week (with Jesus teaching the Apostles that they are here to serve, not to be served), Jesus is heading out of town when a blind beggar cries out to Jesus, “Son of David, have pity on me.”  Those around tried to rebuke the man, but that made him cry out that much louder.  Jesus cures the man, who then goes on to follow Jesus.  So what is our take-a-way from this moment?  There are several, but the one point that binds this to our other readings is that God will redeem us, all we need do is turn to him.

Our Second reading continues our study of the Letter to the Hebrews.  As you will recall, last week’s passage from Hebrews told us that Jesus was our great High Priest, a man like us who understood our weaknesses.  This week’s passage continues with this image of High Priest, but now teaches that “every high priest is taken from among men.”  Called by God to make offerings on our behalf.  Not to be glorified, but to give glory to God.  If this sounds to you like the job description of your parish priest, you would be correct.  This passage is meant to teach us about the special nature of the ordained priesthood, and to reclaim the call to be of service to the people like Aaron and Melchizadek.

Final Thoughts:
Our readings this week give us two distinct lessons.  Our first reading, our Psalm, and our Gospel remind us of God’s mercy and his willingness to do great things for us.  Our second reading give us the criteria for our ordained priests, that they come from among the people, to serve the people by bringing them to God.  Though the lessons are distinct, they do share an understanding of God’s willingness to be among us.  While our ordained priests have particular tasks reserved for those so called to Holy Orders, we also need to remember that our baptism calls us to be priests, prophets, and kings.  As members of this “priesthood of the laity,” we too have an obligation to bring God to others.  We too have the mission to serve.  Like the blind beggar in our Gospel, we should see the good God has done for us, and follow.

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