Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), October 28th, 2018:
Jeremiah 31:7-9; Psalm 126:-6; Hebrews 5:1-6; and Mark 10:46-52.
By Father Scott Karnik
We must hold onto our Catholic faith in Jesus Christ. Doing that enables Jesus to return us to our “rest,” in the Promised Land of grace and salvation where our souls reside. In today’s first reading, God the Father, announces through His prophet Jeremiah, that the Jews will return from Exile. Even those for whom travel is difficult, even they must return. This is such good news that the exiles will be overjoyed. They will return with tears of contrition. God promises the Exiles that the painful labor of sowing will be crowned with life by the Lord, who has returned them to the Promised Land, to the Temple, and God’s Presence. These days of return will be happy.
In today’s gospel, a blind man named Bartimeus is begging. Bartimeus is destitute and insignificant. Bartimeus is a sinner, a nobody. But Bartimeus acts when he hears Jesus is coming. He calls to Jesus persistently. His persistence wins. Bartimeus attracts Jesus’s attention and confidently approaches Jesus’s “throne of grace.” Jesus answers his faith-filled request. He cures Bartimeus’s blindness. Bartimeus’s faith in Jesus has saved him. But there is more. St. Mark also writes that Bartimeus “followed him (Jesus) on the way.” That phrase designates discipleship in the early Church. So the readings today illustrate the prophesied return of Israel and Judah to their promised land, to their beloved city of Jerusalem, and to the Temple where God will return. It is also the illustration of a man’s soul, seeking Jesus, meeting Jesus, asking Jesus for a miracle, and Jesus gives him two. One is the cure of his blindness, and the second, the formation of a disciple, who follows Jesus “on the way.” Jesus gives James, John, and us, the model of the Suffering Servant that He and we must become. Then St. Mark ends this chapter with this story , to encourage his Christian readers in their own situations, on their own way (of the Cross). “Take courage, get up, Jesus is calling you.”
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