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30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B
24th October, 2021

 

Sunday Church at Home

during the Coronavirus Pandemic

 

Enlightened to Follow Christ.

 

The leader makes the sign of the cross, saying:

 

Leader:          In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

 

All reply:       Amen

 

Leader:          Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

All reply:       Blessed be God for ever

 

Leader:          Today is Mission Sunday. It is an invitation to go forth and share our Christian faith with all people, close by and distant, and help them to meet Christ and share in his Good News.

 

LITURGY OF THE WORD

 

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:7-9

Introduction to the reading: In 597 B.C., Babylon defeated Jerusalem and many Jewish leaders and citizens were taken to exile in Babylon. The prophet Jeremiah was among those left behind. Today, in a message intended for the exiles, he proclaims words of encouragement from God.

 

A reading from the Book of Jeremiah.

Thus says the Lord:
“Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
‘The Lord has saved his people, the remnant of Israel.’
Behold, I will bring them from the north country,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
the woman with child and her who is in travail, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
With weeping, they shall come,
and with consolations, I will lead them back,
I will make them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I am a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.

 

The word of the Lord.

 

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 126:1-2ab.2cd-3.4-5.6 (R.3)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. What great deeds the Lord worked for us!
Indeed, we were glad.

When the Lord brought back the exiles of Sion,
we thought we were dreaming.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter;
on our tongues, songs of joy.

Then the nations themselves said, “What great deeds
the Lord worked for them!”
What great deeds the Lord worked for us!
Indeed, we were glad.

Bring back our exiles, O Lord,
as streams in the south.
Those who are sowing in tears
will sing when they reap.

They go out, they go out, full of tears,
bearing seed for the sowing;
they come back, they come back with a song,
bearing their sheaves.

R/. What great deeds the Lord worked for us!
Indeed, we were glad.

 

Second Reading: Hebrews 5:1-6

Introduction to the reading: During the time of Jesus, the high priest was the most important person in the Jewish community. He was believed to be a link between God and human beings. That is why the Letter to the Hebrews used the image of the high priest to describe the role of Jesus in relation to the whole human race.

 

A reading from the Letter to the Hebrews.

Every high priest chosen from among men
is appointed to act on behalf of people in relation to God,
to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward
since he himself is beset with weakness.
Because of this, he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins
as well as for those of the people.
And one does not take the honour upon himself,
but he is called by God, just as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest,
but was appointed by him who said to him,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”

The word of the Lord.

 

Alleluia, alleluia.
Our Saviour Christ Jesus abolished death
and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.
Alleluia.

 

Gospel: Mark 10:46-52

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.

At that time:
As Jesus was leaving Jericho
with his disciples and a great multitude,
Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus,
was sitting by the roadside.
And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth,
he began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent;
but he cried out all the more,
“Son of David, have mercy on me!”

And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

And they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take heart; rise, he is calling you.”

And throwing off his cloak he sprang up and came to Jesus.
And Jesus said to him,
“What do you want me to do for you?”

And the blind man said to him,
“Master, let me receive my sight.”

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way;
your faith has made you well.”
And immediately he received his sight
and followed him on the way.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

 

Reflection on the Readings

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing.

 

Homily

I was in my early 40’s when I noticed my eyes seemed tired all the time when I was looking at the computer screen. I muttered to my self about the poor quality of monitors.  The newspaper was hard to read; In my mind I complained about cheap ink and inferior printing presses. Finally I went to the optometrist. You know the routine, for half an hour she changed one lens after another asking, “Which is clearer, number one, or number two? And then again, “Which is clearer, number one or number two?” Then at the end, she dropped a bombshell – I needed bifocals. I was horrified – bifocals were for grey haired senior citizens – I was way too young. But bifocals it was – and they made all the difference. So, it wasn’t the fault of poor quality computer monitors, or newspaper printers using cheap ink. Little by little my eyes had grown weaker and I needed a bifocals for close up reading.

I needed help seeing clearly.

That is the way it happens: Little by little our eyes get weaker. I didn’t notice it at first, but eventually I had to go to someone who can measure my eyesight, someone who knows and could tell me what’s happening and help me.  And we are not just talking about a physical sight. A follower of Christ needs to have clear sight and that can fade on us as life goes on. We need to see the world through the eyes of Jesus, our lens, who keeps us focused.

There is a lot around us in our world, at work, with our friends, even in our own families, that would blur the sight we Christians need to have. Sometimes we just don’t lose a little of our Christian vision, sometimes we become blinded, even though we have 20/20 vision.

Let’s welcome Bartimaeus into our company. He is sitting blind by the side of the road. Like us he is a fellow traveller on life’s journey, but he  is stuck by the roadside, going nowhere. Even if he knew where he wanted to go he couldn’t see how to get there.

Bartimaeus did not have much going for him: he could not be a carpenter, work in the vineyard, sow seeds and harvest crops. In his society’s eyes he was worth less than nothing. Their belief was that his blindness was due to some sin he committed. So what could he do? He parked himself by the road where people passed. He did have one thing going for him; he had his voice to plead his case. And, he had his hearing – it is said that blind people develop extra sharp hearing.

Bartimaeus would have had heard about Jesus from other people, the way we learned our faith by listening to good teachers. He probably heard that Jesus could bring rest to weary travellers. He probably heard how Jesus could put people at peace with themselves, with their neighbours, and with God. Bartimaeus would have heard that Jesus had opened the ears of the deaf and the eyes of the blind – as the prophets had foretold.

Bartimaeus certainly heard something very good about Jesus because when he hears it is Jesus passing he uses his strong beggars’ voice and cries out, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” “Son of David” is a biblical term for the Messiah – someone whom God would send to help those waiting a long time along life’s many roadsides. He may be physically blind, but Bartimaeus has spiritual sight, he sees what others do not.

Let us sit with Bartimaeus by the roadside. We learn from him to listen to Jesus’ followers. They tell the blind beggar, “Take heart; rise, he is calling you.” Each of us is being called in some way to Jesus. We hear Jesus say what he said to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”

The beggar hears that Jesus is willing to help and invites him to acknowledge his need. “What do you want me to do for you?” And so, the beggar speaks up, “Master, let me receive my sight.”

Then he hears more, the words of healing, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Jesus meets us today by the roadside, and finds us not seeing, or looking in the wrong direction. Today, for a moment, we have stopped here to hear the Word of God. Jesus is asking us, “What do you want me to do for you?” We answer from our present place, or life situation, “Master I want to see.” And what is it that we want to see this day? Have we been blind to the blessings in our lives?

A young father said, “I’ve been so blessed.” I am never sure what that means to some people so I asked, “How?” He said, “My wife, my two kids, my family….” He did not mention his car, house, or even his job. That husband and father sees.

Here Jesus is asking, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And we respond, “Lord, I want to see…I have been blind to people who need me, too focused on my own wants and pleasures.

Lord I want to see… I have been blinded by ambition, and belittled the achievements of others.

Lord I want to see… I have taken on the negative attitudes of others, even those of my family and friends.

Lord I want to see… I have been blinded by pride which prevents me from turning to you, Christ, for mercy.”

Whatever the source of our blindness, the good news is that it can be cured by the one who healed Bartimaeus.

But remember, Jesus did not call the blind man directly, his followers were his intermediaries, “Take courage, get up, Jesus is calling you.” We can give thanks in our prayer today for those guides who helped us find our way to Christ when we needed sight. Take a moment to call them to mind with gratitude at this Eucharist.

Those who ministered to the blind man encouraged him, and helped him find his way to Christ. The blind man first met Christ in those encouraging ministers.

We pray that like Jesus’ followers in the story, we can help others find their way to Jesus by the example of our lives, and our willingness to share our belief with them.

After a receiving his second vaccine shot a parishioner told me, “The delta variant of covid is very contagious.” I know. So is Christianity, people can catch it from us – that is our calling and that’s what we pray for today, to be witnesses of Christ to others so that they can “catch” him from us.

From today’s Gospel reading:

Jesus said to Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Reflection:

Jesus meets us where he found the blind Bartimaeus, by the roadside, also not seeing, or looking in the wrong direction for wisdom and insight. Today, for a moment, we have stopped to hear the Word of God and Jesus asking us, “What do you want me to do for you?” We answer from our present place, or life situation, “Master I want to see.”

So, we ask ourselves:

  • How would we respond to Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?”
  • Have we ever shared what He has done for us with another?

 

Prayer of the Faithful

 

Leader:          On this Mission Sunday, we pray for the spread of the Gospel.

 

 

Reader:

 

We pray for Pope Francis and the bishops as leaders of the Church they may inspire women and men to be missionary disciples in their homes, families and places of work.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for world leaders: that their gathering on climate change will outline new paths for protecting the earth for future generations.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for those who have lost their faith in Christ: may our care and action help them to see again the gift that Jesus is offering to them.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit: that God’s people may listen closely to God as the synod seeks to renew and deepen the mission of the Church.

LORD HEAR US

We pray for all our children receiving First Holy Communion today/on Sunday:

that they may grow in love and joy with the presence of Jesus in their hearts.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for all who are ill, particularly those with diseases of the eyes: that God will bring healing and renewal to them in body, mind, and spirit.
LORD HEAR US

We pray for deceased members of our families and friends whose anniversaries occur about this time.

LORD HEAR US

 

We pray for Rosemary Brewer who died during the week.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.

And let perpetual light shine upon her.
May she rest in peace.  Amen.

 

Leader:          The sixth municipal elections held in South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994 will take place on the 1st November 2021.

 

Let us Prayer for the Elections

 

Almighty Father,
as we approach the elections,
grant us the wisdom and courage
we need in order to make the right choices.
Help us to carry out our duties as responsible citizens
with respect for the rights of others.
By voting in a spirit of humility and service,
may we bring hope to the poor,
unity to all our people
and a more secure and peaceful future for our children.
Father, do not allow us to be discouraged.
Inspire us to contribute to the rebuilding of our country with vigour and generosity. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

Spiritual Communion

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion.

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.

 

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen.

 

 

 

CONCLUDING RITE

 

Leader:          Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:

 

All say:          Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

Leader:          O God,

it is your will that all should be saved

and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Look upon your abundant harvest

and send workers to preach the gospel to every creature,

so that your people, gathered by the word of life

and supported by the power of the sacraments,

may advance in the way of salvation and love.

 

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God for ever and ever.

 

All:                  Amen.

 

Leader:          May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

 

All:                  Amen.

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