Sunday, 10/28/2018, Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
As Good As Already Done
First Reading Commentary: Jeremiah 31:7-9
Today’s prophecy from Jeremiah is a promise which God has made to us countless times. Once again, God promises to bring His people back from the land of the north and the ends of the earth. The blind, the lame, the mothers and those with child; they all shall return.
What God was really saying is that He will not forsake any of His people and that includes all of us. We are all His creation and therefore we are all His people. Even if we become lost in sin, He will find us and save us. Jesus made this promise very clear in the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Matthew 18:10-14. We may refuse to follow Him but that will never stop God from trying to bring us home.
But there is advice in verse seven of this prophecy which tells us to shout with joy for Jacob, proclaim praise and say, “The LORD has delivered His people.” Remember; this was a prophecy of what was to happen and not an account of what had already taken place.
So, the real advice here and the message that we should not ignore is that we should have faith in God! Enough faith to know and believe: that if God says that He will do it, it is as good as already done.
High Priest and Savior
Second Reading Commentary: Hebrews 5:1-6
Once the altar is prepared at Mass, the Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the priest saying, “Pray my brothers and sisters that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.” The reason why the priest says this is explained in the first three verses of today’s reading from Hebrews.
Our priests are human just like the rest of us and they come from among us. They are not perfect and they make mistakes. But they are called to be our representatives before God in offering gifts and sacrifices in atonement for our sins.
On behalf of himself and everyone present, the priest asks God to accept the sacrifice of the bread and wine. He will then bless and consecrate the bread and wine so that it might become the living Body and Blood of Christ. The transformation from bread and wine to Body and Blood occurs when the priest recites the words that Christ said at the Last Supper.
The point that I want to make in this commentary is that the priesthood is made up of men who have been called by God to be our representatives. God does not want someone to represent us who cannot relate to us as human beings.
Think of it this way: Union members do not elect someone to represent them to the company unless that person is a member of the union. This person knows what the members need and is committed to championing their cause. When he negotiates with the company, he does not speak for himself alone but for the whole body of the union.
In the same way, a man is called into the priesthood to be our representative at the altar. He knows our sins because he has committed some of them himself. He knows what we need because he is one of us. And, when he celebrates Mass, he is petitioning for all who are present as well as himself.
This is why the Father sent the Son to be one of us. Because of His humanity, the Son experienced everything that we do. He felt everything that we feel. The only thing that He did not do was sin. But because the Son lived among us as one of us, no one is able to represent us better to the Father.
Christ was and still is our High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. See, Psalm 110:4 and Genesis 14:18. Christ is our Mediator to the Father and it is for this reason that Christ did not glorify Himself as our High Priest. Instead, He gave glory to the Father. Even on the Cross, Christ gave glory to the Father. It is because of His sacrifice on the Cross, that Christ is both Priest and Savior.
Believe and Ask in Faith
Gospel Commentary: Mark 10:46-52
As Jesus was leaving Jericho, the blind man, Bartimaeus, was sitting on the roadside begging. As Jesus approached, the man called out, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” At first, he was rebuked by many of the people in the crowd but Jesus stopped and called him over.
Never in the gospels do we see Jesus refuse anyone who calls out to Him. Nowhere in the bible do we see God refuse anyone who calls out to Him. In fact, throughout Scripture, we see the exact opposite. God wants us to call out to Him in faith and God wants us to come to Him in faith during our time of need. That is when God showers us the most with His love and that is ultimately what happened to Bartimaeus.
There are those who will discourage us from calling on God. They will lead us into believing that we can solve our problems on our own in a worldly way. That simply does not work. Oh, sometimes, we may seem to get what we want but it will be an illusion because we will never have everything that we need. When we try to deal with our problems on our own instead of calling on God for help, we turn our backs on His love and the salvation that He has planned for us.
So, in spite of the people who were rebuking Bartimaeus, Jesus called him over and asked, “What do you want me to do for you.” This is the second week in a row that Jesus asks this question to someone who approached Him with a request. God wants us to tell Him what we want. Not because He wants to know—He already does. God wants to hear us say it and God wants our prayers of petition to be consistent with the saving grace that He has planned for us.
Mark tells us that Bartimaeus said, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus said, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” The man’s sight was restored immediately and he followed Jesus.
There are two messages in this gospel that are more important than the miracle that was performed. The reason why Jesus performed this miracle is where the first message lies. It is all about faith! This man knew who Jesus was and he had great faith in Jesus. That is why he jumped up with great enthusiasm when Jesus called him and because of that faith, Jesus gave Bartimaeus his sight.
This is not the only miracle of Jesus where He made it very clear that it was being performed because of faith. We know that God answers all prayers so sometimes we get the idea that we do not have anything to do on our part. But we do! First and foremost, we must believe. Everything which we receive from God is by His grace and grace never comes our way if we do not believe!
We also have to pray for what we need and not just for what we want to satisfy our worldly pleasures and desires. We must pray for God’s Will to be done which is one of the lines in the Lord’s Prayer. If Jesus taught us to pray that way, we should. But it all begins with faith. If faith, need, and God’s Will are not all present in our prayers, we may not get an answer and if we do, it may not be what we want.
The second message does not come from what Jesus said but from what He did. The crowd rebuked the blind man but Jesus called him and healed him. We have no right to tell someone not pray or how to pray. We have no right to demand that someone believe in a certain thing or in a certain way. We can and we should let other people know what we believe and why we believe it because of our call to evangelize. But ultimately, it is our God given right to believe what we will and pray in whatever way that we choose.
What Jesus did here is a demonstration of the fact that God is always there for us and will take care of us no matter what someone else has to say negative about it. In fact, He will pay no attention to what someone else has to say negative about it. He will listen to the intercession on our behalf from Mary and the saints, which is why we should pray to them, but no one can stop us from praying except ourselves. We should all be like Bartimaeus who was given his sight because he asked in faith.