|Reading 1||Response||Reading 2||Gospel|
|Jer 31:7-9||Ps 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6||Heb 5:1-6||Mk 10:46-52|
Jesus’ concluding discipleship teachings “on the way”
During Ordinary time the Lectionary readings present stories and teachings from Jesus’ everyday ministry. This week’s readings give RCIA participants and the believing community a few final thoughts about the way of discipleship.
The first reading from the prophet Jeremiah describes the exiles’ return after captivity. This is Jeremiah’s second poem celebrating the captives’ return. For Jewish hearers, this poem stresses the exiles’ return and restoration (healing, saving), including the blind and lame, to Israel. The Lectionary editors chose this poem because it foreshadows blind Bartimaeus’ healing and saving in today’s gospel.
The second reading continues the continuous reading from the Letter to the Hebrews. Today’s reading again contrasts the Jewish high priests with Jesus. High priests  are appointed by God,  are selected from among humans to represent them before God and offer sacrifices, and  must be sympathetic toward the ignorant and erring. The author sets out Jesus’ qualifications: Jesus  is appointed by God (“You are my son,” “You are a priest forever,” Heb 5:5-6);  selected from among humans (Jesus is full human through his incarnation, Heb 2:9), and (3) is able to be sympathetic (because he is like us in all things except sin, Heb 4:15).
Mark’s gospel concludes Jesus’ traveling and teaching “on the way” to Jerusalem. Jesus started his journey to Jerusalem with the healing of a blind man; today he finishes his journey with a healing of blind Bartimaeus:
- Bartimaeus regains his sight. Jesus concludes his discipleship teachings by performing an act of power: healing Bartimaeus. This is not just a healing story, but a dialogue about faith. Bartimaeus cries for mercy. When Jesus hears him and calls him, Bartimaeus jumps up and rushes to Jesus. Jesus asks what he wants; Bartimaeus replies directly, “I want to see.” Jesus declares him healed from his blindness, saying, “Your faith has saved/healed (σώζω) you.” The Greek word σώζω (SOHd-zoh) means “to save,” “to heal,” and “to be made whole.” Bartimaeus’ healing is a parable-in-action of God’s kingdom: he is healed/saved, and he immediately follows Jesus as a disciple.
- The disciple’s journey to sight and insight. The healings of blind men bookend Jesus’ journey “on the way” to Jerusalem (Mk 8:22-26; Mk 10:46-52). Between these two healings, Jesus teaches his disciples about who Jesus is and what discipleship means. The first healing story in Mk 8 tells hearers that it’s sometimes hard to see Jesus and discipleship clearly, while the second healing story in Mk 10 presents clear-sighted faith in Jesus and the genuine response Jesus elicits. For disciples, restored physical sight is less important than spiritual insight into Jesus.
Today’s readings, along with the readings over the last six weeks, invite us to reflect on discipleship and blindness. Jesus has been telling his disciples and us who he is and what he expects from us. Jesus’ journey reveals that he is not simply a miracle worker but also the suffering servant. The journey also reveals that the way of discipleship leads to the way of the cross. Do we clearly see who Jesus is in his words and actions? As disciples, do we clearly see our own way to follow Jesus?