30th Sunday in Ordinary Time – October 28, 2018

30B18. Jeremiah 31:7-9. “The Lord has delivered his people, the remnant of Israel.” “They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them.” “For I am a father to Israel.” As the psalm response for Psalm 126 says, “The Lord had done great things for us; we are filled with joy.” For their disobedience Israel had been led off to captivity by the Babylonians. They had served their time in reparation. The God of Israel loves his People and with paternal care leads them back to their homeland.

Mark 10:46-52. Bartimaeus hears that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by but, probably because he has heard that Jesus has done miraculous things that only the Messiah could do, he calls out to him addressing him with the messianic title, son of David, instead of Jesus of Nazareth, which was his secular name. Bartimaeus, in crying out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me,” is saying what we say at the beginning of Mass: ‘Jesus, have mercy; Christ, have mercy’. It was his way, and now our way, of requesting: ‘Make me physically whole; make me spiritually holy’ or ‘do great things for me’. As Jesus’ Father led Israel out of the dark times of slavery, Jesus leads a son of Israel out of the darkness of his blindness. When the disciples said to Bartimaeus, “‘Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you,’ he threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.” Traditionally Bartimaeus’ response to the invitation of Jesus is looked upon as his way of saying by his actions that he has abandoned seeking his strength from his own personal resources but is now totally dependent on, i.e. put his faith, in Jesus. Jesus told him, ‘Go your way; your ‘faith has saved you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.” As with the remnant of Israel in Jeremiah, the Lord has done great things for Bartimaeus and he follows the Lord with great joy. In the darkness of his blindness his faith opened him to be filled with the power of God. Our weaknesses invite us to no longer be dependent on our own resources but rather to put our faith in the strength of the Lord. Life is journey of having the sight to see Jesus leading us on the way to heaven and not be lost in the blindness of an earthly life.

Hebrews 5:1-6. Every high priest in the Old Testament was just a human being but chosen by God. Being human even the high priest “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.” Jesus too was called by God his Father to be the high priest. It was the Father who glorified the Jesus, saying to him: “You are my son: this day I have begotten you!” The God sets up the scenario for Jesus to be the high priest who opens up the gates of heaven by offering himself on the cross so that we may be delivered from captivity to sin to live in the promised land of heaven. Now we can say: “The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”