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.
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 Cycle Cycle B
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.
Master, I want to see! What a wonderful request to make of our Lord. I want to see can be the theme for this Sunday. I want to see people return to God. I want to see people rejoicing in living out God’s word. I want that I myself can rejoice when I suffer for the sake of the Lord. I want to understand how Jesus Christ is my High Priest and intercedes for me. I want to see how Jesus Christ is always present in His Church even when there is so much sinfulness in the members of the Church. I want to see how Christ loves me even when bad things happen to me.
The first reading, from the Prophet Jeremiah, speaks of the joy that grips the people of God when they think of return from exile. All of us can imagine what it might be like to be taken away from the places and the people that we love. There are so many exiles in our world today who long to return to their own lands, who long to be back with their own people. Our hearts must come to understand the modern forms of exile and brokenness in order to understand the writings of our Scriptures. We can also imagine the incredible joy of knowing that there is a return and that it will happen.
Our spiritual lives are like exile much of the time. We find ourselves away from God, away from our own values, away from the people who help us walk with joy and gladness. We fail to be the gift that God has created us to be. Yet God constantly assures us that we are always invited to return to Him, no matter how often we go away from him, no matter how frequently we are taken captive by sin and temptation.
The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the truth of Jesus Christ. He is God and yet he is human like us. He himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. The difference, of course, is that He never gives in to the weakness and never sins. We do give in and we do sin. Thus Christ intercedes for us and always offers us forgiveness. Just the thought of this God who always loves us increases our joy and our capacity to live without fear.
Today’s God from Saint Mark speaks of Bartimaeus, the blind man. He has the courage to ask to see. People tell him to be quiet. We are not supposed to annoy the powerful, even the spiritually powerful. Yet Bartimaeus knows that he must cry out for healing. He wants to see.
Do we want to see? What do we want to see? Are we willing to cry out and to insist? Do we let others silence us? Let us have courage today and ask to see. Let us ask to see the Lord and to know His ways. Let us ask to see all that we need to see so that we may rejoice in the Lord!