Welcome Back to Banquet of the Word!
Join us every week for background on this Sunday readings.
Our mission is simple:
We want to help everyone in “pew-land” get more out of mass.
Today’s theme? Blind Spots.
Fun Fact 1:
Where in the liturgical year are we? We are in the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time. There are only 33 total – so we’re nearing the “end of the year.” The Solemnity of Christ the King takes place on November 25th, and that is the final Sunday of our Church year. The next Sunday after that? The first week of Advent. We are in year B right now (Mark), and next year we’ll move to year C (Luke).
Fun Fact 2:
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Ephraim was one of the Tribes of Israel. The Tribe of Manasseh together with Ephraim also formed the House of Joseph. It is one of the ten lost tribes.
(The 1st Reading is Old Testament. It always links to the Gospel.)
Today we’re in chapter 31 of one of the four Major Prophets – Jeremiah. (The other 3 Major Prophets are Isaiah, Daniel and Ezekiel). Today, Jeremiah tells us about the JOY of the return that the Israelites will eventually make. Remember that God’s people have turned their backs away from God for a long time, refusing to follow his ways and instead worshipping idols and rejecting His law. Now though, Jeremiah – a prophet through whom God speaks – assures us that despite their sinful rejection of God? They will return.
In life we too get lost. We lose track of who God is, what He wants, and how to follow Him. We can ask too, “how am I lost in some way right now?” How am I off the beaten path?” Hear Jeremiah’s good news here and with praise and thanksgiving, we can know that God desires our return, and that it is possible!
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.
Psalm 126:The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
(The Psalm is a “response” to what we heard in the 1st Reading)
This is the voice of the Israelites after God has called them back – after their Return from Exile.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those that sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
(The 2nd reading is usually from Paul’s letters. Speaks to how the early church was built after Christ’s death and resurrection).
The author of the letter to the Hebrews devotes an entire section of the letter to Jesus Christ as High Priest – as the one who is at the “head of the household.” He describes that even the high priest must offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. Not just his own sins, for he too is sinful, but also for the sins of his people.
It is important here to see that Christ is that high priest for US. However he offers himself as sacrifice for our sins, though He himself has none. And this phrase stuck with me today – “You are my son. You are my daughter. You are my child. God says this to each of us tenderly every day. Wake up tomorrow and hear Him say it to you.
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.
(The Gospel is the highest point of the Liturgy of the Word. That’s why we stand.
We are about to hear from and be instructed by Christ Himself.)
Today’s gospel is beautiful. It’s about blind spots. Incidentally, I’m teaching my 15 year old daughter to check blind spots as she learns to drive. The road and its rules are unfamiliar to her. My husband and I have to teach and coach her, guide and encourage her. She is reluctant about left hand turns. She isn’t comfortable parking in certain situations. She gets nervous on the highway. All these things are good as she navigates a totally new world – the road. What road are we on that is new, that we don’t know very well, that we aren’t comfortable with quite yet? Who is our coach and guide? Let it be Jesus.
It is about Jesus meeting a blind man on the road and giving him sight. Oh the depth and breadth of this reading for all of us who are – in whatever ways today – blind. How we can take this message and run with it. We all have blind spots. How are we blind in our lives today – in situations, relationships, or to our own selves?
We are invited today to cry out to God –
“Son of David have pity on me!
Master, I want to SEE.”
May God bless your week, and may he remove one veil of blindness for all of us.