30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

As I was reflecting on the readings for this Sunday I was struck by a couple of reccurring themes: consolation and rejoicing. In the first reading from Jeremiah we hear of the rejoicing of the people of Israel in the consolation of returning to their homeland. God said, “I will console them and guide them”, and He did; and He continues to do just that in the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church. In the Sacrament of Penance we are consoled by the Divine Mercy of God through the loving ministry of our spiritual father, the priest.

In the Psalm this theme is continued and expanded upon: “When the Lord brought back the captives of Zion, we were like men dreaming.” I think it’s so beautiful that the Lord brings back his captive chosen ones. We are all captive to some kind of sin or addiction, but Christ is right there in the Sacrament of Penance to pick us back up and to console us and rejoice with us when we repent.
In our second reading we get a beautiful description of the person and ministry of a priest, but it may as well be a few guidelines for holiness. After all, aren’t we all called to strive for holiness, to become saints, a living Gospel? If so, then let us heed those words carefully and “offer gifts and sacrifices for sins… deal patiently with the ignorant and erring.” In the Sacrament of Penance we offer the gift of our humble emptying of self and our penance is the sacrifice, but this Sacrament also reminds us to repay mercy with mercy and love with love. We can do that by patiently dealing with those people and situations that may afflict us, especially those who, whether in or out of the Church, may be in error or are ignorant of the beauty and truth of Holy Mother Church. “No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God.” We are called in one way or another to love and serve the Lord and His Holy Church, and we should never lose sight of what a beautiful honor that is.

Many times we’ve come to the Lord in the Sacrament of Penance like Bartimaeus saying, “Master, I want to see!” How many times have we heard or felt the Lord’s response, “Your faith has saved you.” The Gospel goes on to tell how Bartimaeus immediately received his sight, but most significantly it adds, “and followed him on the way.” We to need to repent and follow Christ more closely on the way to holiness; like Bartimaeus, who after being healed of his infirmity gave entirely of himself and followed the Lord. So, will you be like Bartimaeus and follow the Lord who heals, or will you turn the other way? The choice is yours…choose wisely.

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