The Abbot's Desk
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.
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 erring sinners, for he is himself beset by weakness and so must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. One does not take this honor on his own initiative, but only when called by God as Aaron was. Even Christ did not glorify himself with the office of high priest; he received it from the One who said to him, "You are my son; today I have begotten you"; just as he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, there was a blind beggar Bartimaeus ("son of Timaeus") sitting by the roadside. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to call out, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" Many people were scolding him to make him keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, "Son of David, have pity on me!" Then Jesus stopped and said, "Call him over." So they called the blind man over, telling him as they did so, "You have nothing whatever to fear from him! Get up! He is calling you!" He threw aside his cloak, jumped up and came to Jesus. Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" "Rabboni," the blind man said, "I want to see." Jesus said in reply, "Be on your way! Your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and started to follow him up the road.
Text from Lectionary for Mass
© 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
© 1969 International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc.
All rights reserved
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Do you want to see? This is a challenge to us today. What do we want to see? Do we want to see life with the eyes of faith? Do we simply want to be able to see what is present in our lives? God can work miracles and does work miracles in the lives of many.
Last week we spoke about the desire to avoid suffering. This week we can speak about a desire to know God, a desire to be aware of our lives, a desire to have a somewhat normal life. These desires are part of our human existence, even though they are expressed in many different ways.
The prophet Jeremiah speaks to us today about the return from exile of the chosen people, his own people. Many of us today know refugees and exiles who would like to return to their countries of origin if only to visit family members who still live there. Many times this return is not possible because of government restrictions or because such a return would be unsafe.
Do we desire the life that will come after this life? Do we desire eternal life and recognize that we are in exile here in this present life? Can we become like Bartimaeus in the Gospel and insist on what we want? He wanted so badly to see that he was willing to face the ridicule of others and their rejection.
The second reading points out that Jesus was able to understand us a be is able to be our High Priest, one who prays for us and intercedes for us, because he also had all our human weakness. Our compassion can go out to others when we recognize that we are like them and share in the same human reality. So often we do not want to identify ourselves as just like everyone else--especially if it means to be like someone we do not like! Compassion can grow stronger within us the more we recognize all other people in ourselves.
Let us begin once again today to follow Jesus up the road, to walk in His ways and to abandon our own.
© 2000 The Monastery of Christ in the Desert