the blind

We know from past discussions that the readings from each Mass have a theme. Today, Acceptance Sunday is no exception. These three readings embrace you, the people seeking knowledge about, and entrance into, the Catholic Church. The theme in the first reading, from Jeremiah (1 Jer 31:7-9)
Thus says the LORD: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

Make no mistake. God has called you. You might only see your coming to these meetings in light of a parent requesting you to come, or a situation deeming these steps as necessary. You might be curious, or looking for an answer, or seeking a deeper relationship with your God. But whatever the reason is that brings you here, make no mistake…it is a loving, thoughtful God who is calling you. You would not be here if He hadn’t taken the first step to call you, to set in motion those things that brought you here. And thus the words, “I will gather them from the ends of the world.”

In the second reading, (2 Heb 5:1-6) we hear: Brothers and sisters:Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God,to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

Wait a minute! Priest? I am just requesting Baptism, or entrance into the Catholic Church. What is this priest business? The offices of priest, prophet, and king are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and we are baptized into Him. We all share in some way in these offices.

A Priest – offers sacrifice. A Prophet – teaches.  A King – serves. The second reading goes on…
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring,for he himself is beset by weakness …No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God.

This portion of the reading talks directly to all of us and how we are to conduct ourselves. We deal patiently with those persons who are struggling and erring and making wrong choices. We love and understand those people who are puffed up with their own importance because as the reading says “for he himself, who is called to patiently deal with others, is also beset by weakness”.  We live our lives loving and understanding others, because we, ourselves, are beset by these same weaknesses. And the second reading concludes with once again calling attention to the fact that we are called by God. It is not we, who are taking the initiative, but God.

In the Gospel, (Mk 10:46-52) … we hear:
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, who was passing by, 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 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.”

What is this reading telling us, today, on Acceptance Sunday?  We know that God has taken the first step and is calling us to be priest, sacrificing, prophet, teaching and king, serving. But oh, how each of us is beset with weaknesses. In today’s Gospel, the blind man sees his weakness and cries out, “Master, I want to see”. We must be like the blind man and see ourselves as we really are. All of us have a glorified image of who we are, what we are about. But down deep, we know there are many things still lacking in us, our weaknesses. We have many good qualities and should be thankful for them. We cannot, however, overlook those weaknesses, those shortcomings, mistakes in judgment, wrong choices that fill our lives. All of these, good and bad, make us, us.

Acceptance Sunday is not a one and done deal. Every day of our life we must pray for the honesty to recognize and acknowledge what needs to be healed in us. Before the blind man could receive the sight he so desperately wanted, he had to first recognize and acknowledge his need for healing. So too, all God is waiting for is our recognition and acknowledgement that we need to be healed. Not a generality, but a soul searching attempt to see what it is that is preventing our forward movement to God. Once it is perceived, acknowledged, and admitted that we need healing, God’s response will be immediate, “Go your way, your faith has saved you.”

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