Reading 1: Jeremiah 31:7-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm: 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Reading 2: Hebrews: 5:1-6
Gospel: Mark: 10:46-52
The COVID pandemic continues to shift our lives and expectations in recent months. How we long for getting back to a feeling of what used to be!
We are beginning to experience some familiar things like gatherings with family and friends, sports events, and live music which is just beginning to open up.
There is a similar feeling in this Sunday’s first reading from Jeremiah. We hear joy as the Israelites walked together after returning from a long forced diaspora. They left their homeland in tears and are returning with shouts of joy. We almost can hear them singing with immense joy, “God has delivered the people!”
However, the Israelites are returning home as a remnant of their former community. Many had died and those who are returning home are more vulnerable. Now, they are utterly dependent on God to rebuild their lives.
We ourselves are not walking back home, but we are beginning to return to a new normal as we feel some glimpses of relief from the 20-month isolation caused by a deadly and serious virus. These feelings of joy are intermittent, and they are beginning to emerge through gatherings with loved ones and attending rituals of liturgy and family meals together again.
Our return is in some ways similar to our ancestor’s return, singing their way out of the diaspora. Cautiously, we are getting ready to sing out that God has delivered the people, although we are not quite sure if another variant will emerge.
Just as our ancestors experienced, we too have been broken in some ways and we are returning with our own vulnerabilities. Like the Israelites as they rebuilt their lives, we each are beginning to return to normal with our brokenness.
We are blind in some ways of not knowing how to return from these long months. What do we need to see differently? What do we ask of God from what we have experienced? This Sunday’s Gospel provides us with ways to pray having experienced our losses and unmet longings.
Jesus is walking with his disciples and a large group of people. A beggar on the side of the road recognizes Jesus and he calls out to him, “Jesus, Son of David have pity on me.” Jesus sends his disciples to bring the beggar to him. This beggar was known as Bartimaeus. Jesus addresses him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus says: “Master, I want to see!” This blind beggar had the clarity of asking Jesus to free him from his serious disability of being blind. Bartimaeus immediately received his sight and followed Jesus.
In our vulnerability, we too are invited to tell Jesus what we want from the deepest level of our being. Jesus is open to us, asking each of us, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Like Bartimaeus, this invitation is also to say in our own words that we too want to see! That is, we want to be healed and to live a full and flourishing life as a people, as a country, we want to see our planet healed so that all creation can flourish. We want to live without fear and in peace and joy with one another. Listen when Jesus asks of us, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Sr. Lucianne Siers, OP
Director of the Institute of Religious Formation and Hesburgh Sabbatical Program