Christ Our High Priest, Please Help Us To See Your Marvels!
Readings: 1st: Jer 31, 7-9; Ps 125; 2nd: Heb 5, 1-6; Gos Mk 10, 46-52
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this thirtieth Sunday of ordinary time, the church invites us to manifest our faith and, place our hope in Christ. This is because, as our high priest and mediator, He is willing and able to open our eyes in order to see the marvels that God has worked for us.
Our first reading this Sunday is a radical articulation of hope that functions as a road map for liberation and survival. Hence, we find images of homecoming, restoration, and renewed relationships. In their weak and exiled state, the Israelites could not help themselves. This means that redemption and peace come from God. He has revealed himself through his son Jesus Christ, who in turn, reveals himself through his priests in our Christian community.
Hence, our second reading reminds us of the role of the priest who mediates for the people of God “In persona Christi.” One of the most important role of the priest as the one who acts “In persona Christi” is, to help the people encounter and see God. So, he leads and shows the way. He does this by animating the faith of the people and by sharing in their pain, and joy. This is why the second reading today tells us that: “Every high priest was chosen from among humans…so he can understand and sympathize with those who are ignorant and rejected.” He is a member of the Christian community with a great responsibility on him.
This is what St Augustine meant when he says on the anniversary of his episcopal ordination: “I am fearful of what I am for you, but I draw strength from what I am with you. For you, I am a priest, and with you, I am a Christian…Help me by your prayers and your obedience to carry out these many serious and varied duties…” (Sermon 350, 1). So, as a human being “who lives in the limitations of weakness,” the priest must pray for himself. He also needs prayers from the Christian community. He has to see in order to help the people of God see. This means that together as members of the Christian community, we all need God’s mercy, compassion, healing and liberation from the limitations of life. So confidently and constantly, we must all ask for this help from Christ our High Priest.
In today’s gospel, the blind Bartimaeus represents our collective human situation that is constantly yearning for healing and liberation from all sorts of limitations. The blindness in questions might not necessarily be the physical loss of vision, but spiritual ignorance that limits our relationship with others, and with God. Hence, today’s Gospel teaches us that to be free from this limitation, we must humbly accept it. Second, by constantly reminding ourselves that: “Our help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Ps 95:8), we must humbly ask for help from Christ. So, like the blind man, in our gospel we must cry out to the Lord in faith: “Lord that I might see!” However, it important to note that blind Bartimaeus did not believe because he was cured. Rather, he was cured because he had faith in Christ who said: “Your faith has cured you.” Faith is very important in our daily walk and encounter with Jesus Christ. To see is to have a living faith in Christ our high priest.
Finally, once, I saw these words written on the front plate of a car: “If you are not tired of praying, God is not tired of listing to you.” So, the good news today is that Christ our high priest is always ready to hear and help us. He wants us to see again and be liberated from all our limitations in this life. However like the blind Bartimaeus, we must humbly call out to him: “Lord that I may see.” The blind and “poor man called and the Lord heard him” (Ps 36, 4). If we sincerely call on Christ in faith, he will also hear us because: “Whoever shall calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom 10, 13). So filled with hope, let us acclaim: “What marvels the Lord has worked for us! Indeed we were glad.”
Peace be with you!