Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings begin with a joyous reunion of the blind, the lame, and those who departed in tears. All are consoled and guided. The psalm celebrates the return of captives, filled with laughter, their lives transformed from weeping and sorrow to rejoicing. The reading from Hebrews reflects upon the Old Testament priesthood and the Jerusalem Temple, and contrasts it with the priesthood of Christ. The priest’s glory comes from being, like all of us, a child of God. In the Gospel a blind man, crying out to Jesus, is rebuked, told to be quiet. Nevertheless he persists. Jesus calls to him, and his request is simple and straightforward: “I want to see.” Jesus recognizes his faith, returns his sight, and sends him on his way. His way, it turns out, is to follow Jesus. The blind, the lame, the sorrowing, captives, and priests who, like us, are weak—are not successful by worldly measure. Yet they are the ones whom God seeks.
Today’s readings are about those whom society often looks down on, those who are physically disabled, who have been imprisoned. We read about those whose losses are so great that they cannot stop weeping. Hebrews reminds us that even those in the exalted position of priest are themselves beset by weakness. Weakness is at the very heart of the priest’s ability to minister to others. Finally it is a blind man, shouting from the side of the road, shushed by those around him, told not to make a scene, whom Jesus sees. His sight is returned because of his faith, and his first choice as a sighted person is to follow Jesus.
The lesson of today’s readings is that God is focused on the marginalized, on the outsiders, on those whom we too often try to silence. God is focused on those parts of ourselves, our weaknesses that we try to hide by turning our attention to anything else. The readings are all about the less-than-perfect. They talk about weakness, deep crushing sorrow, brokenness that is part of our humanity, and a strength rooted in the love of God for us despite all of that.
Success is not measured by strength, wholeness, or power. Success is measured by our weakness, by God’s embracing of that weakness and our choice to follow God. The priest has power only because of the weakness that is a part of each person. We are the blind, the lame, the sorrowing. And we are the ones whom God saves and transforms. The blind man in us cries out when decorum would have us be quiet. Our faith cries out for salvation, for wholeness, for redemption, for sight, and we are heard. Our blindness is transformed into sight, and with such vision we see the world as God sees it, broken and beloved.
Today’s Readings: Jer 31:7–9; Ps 126:1–2, 2–3, 4–5, 6; Heb 5:1–6; Mk 10:46–52