Scripture: Lectionary 150. 30th Sun.Oct.28,2012. Jeremiah 31:7-9. Psalm 126:1-2,2-3,4-5.6. Hebrews 5:1-6. Mark 10:46-52:
There is movement by foot in three of the readings for this Sunday. The Epistle to Hebrews focuses on Jesus but we know that he is called the pathfinder in this letter and that image is strengthened by what is said of him in two messianic psalms (Ps.2 and 110). Our reflection will touch upon all of the readings on this Sunday.
Jeremiah describes the joy of the return from the Exile in Assyria where the ten tribes had been deported. Ephraim is a symbolic name for the ten tribes. God will bring them back like a shepherd does for the sheep who were straying or captured by a thief. No one will be left behind; the poor, the blind, the widows and the women with child. As
Jeremiah has said there is a Future to Hope for and a Door of Hope is given to all who were in Exile.
We can capture some of their feelings and experiences when we see families waiting for the return of their sons, daughters, and husbands from the nations struggling with internal wars. How joyful to see those soldiers coming home to their families and loved ones. Jeremiah has God addressed as a father welcoming back both Ephraim and Judah. One is not put above the other with the single mention of Ephraim.
The Psalm is post Exilic and celebrates the freedom now granted to those who had been exiled: “The Lord has done great things for us, we are indeed glad.”
The Epistle to the Hebrews cites two Messianic Psalms highly considered in the New Testament, namely, Psalm 2 and 110. These Psalms form part of the themes given in Hebrews about the priesthood and kingship of Jesus. We remember that at the Dead Sea Community of Qumran two messiahs were mentioned, one a priest, the other a king.
Jesus embraces both of these titles. The Messiah’s humanity is emphasized in Jesus. He knows human sufferings and the disappointment of friends and the rejection of others. It is he who is the leader (archegos) and pathfinder for us who are on the way with him toward the Kingdom of God. Jesus is like us in all things except sin.
Mark gives us the original account of the blind Bartimaeus who shouts out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” His faith leads him to trust that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of David. Jesus summons him and heals his blindness and Bartimaeus then follows Jesus on the way up to Jerusalem. He may have continued to follow him through his sufferings, death, and resurrection. He becomes a model for our faith and our own discipleship of following Jesus on the Way. Bartimaeus means the son of the noble one. He was at the gate of Jericho. A door of hope is opened to him and now like the Exiles in Jeremiah, he, too, will reach Jerusalem. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.