Above: Christ Healing the Blind Man, by Eustace Le Sueur
The Sunday Closest to October 26
Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost
OCTOBER 25, 2015
FIRST READING AND PSALM: OPTION #1
Job 42:1-6, 10-17 (TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures):
Job said in reply to the LORD:
I know that You can do everything,
That nothing you propose is impossible for You.
Who is this who obscures counsel without knowledge?
Indeed, I spoke without understanding
Of things beyond me, which I did not know.
Hear now, and I will speak;
I will ask, and You inform me.
I had heard You with my ears,
But now I see You with my eyes;
Therefore I recant and relent,
Being but dust and ashes.
The LORD restored Job’s fortunes when he prayed on behalf of his friends, and the LORD gave Job twice what he had before.
All his brothers and sisters and all his former friends came to him and had a meal with him in his house. They consoled, and comforted him for all the misfortune that the LORD had brought upon him. Each gave him one kesitah and each one gold ring.Thus the LORD blessed the latter years of Job’s life more than the former. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand she-asses. He also had seven sons and three daughters. The first he named Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. Nowhere in the land were women as beautiful as Job’s daughters to be found. Their father gave them estates together with their brothers. Afterward, Job lived one hundred and forty years to see four generations of sons and grandsons. So Job died old and contented.
Psalm 34:1-8, (19-22) (1979 Book of Common Prayer):
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
2 I will glory in the LORD;
let the humble hear and rejoice.
3 Proclaim with me the greatness of the LORD;
let us exult his Name together.
4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me out of all my terror.
5 Look upon him and be radiant,
and let not your faces be ashamed.
6 I called in my affliction and the LORD heard me
and saved me from all my troubles.
7 The angel of the LORD encompasses those who fear him,
and he will deliver them.
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
happy are they who trust in him.
19 Many are the troubles of the righteous,
but the LORD will deliver him out of them all.
20 He will keep all his bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 The LORD ransoms the life of his servants,
and none will be punished who trust in him.
FIRST READING AND PSALM: OPTION #2
Jeremiah 31:7-9 (TANAKH: The Holy Scriptures):
For thus said the LORD:
Cry out in joy for Jacob,
Shout at the crossroads of the nations!
Sing aloud in praise, and say:
Save, O LORD, Your people,
The remnant of Israel.
I will bring them in from the northland,
Gather them from the ends of the earth–
The blind and the lame among them,
Those with child and those in labor–
In a vast throng they shall return here.
They shall come with weeping,
And with compassion will I guide them.
I will lead them to streams of water,
by a level road where they will not stumble.
For I am ever a Father to Israel,
Ephraim is My first-born.
Psalm 126 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
then were we like those who dream.
2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy.
3 Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
4 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are glad indeed.
5 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the watercourses of the Negev.
6 Those who sowed with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
7 Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed,
will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.
Hebrews 7:23-28 (Revised Standard Version–Second Catholic Edition):
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; for he did this once for all when he offered up himself. Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been make perfect for ever.
Mark 10:46-52 (Revised English Bible):
They came to Jericho; and as he was leaving the town, with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was seated at the roadside. Hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout,
Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me!
Many of the people told him to hold his tongue; but he shouted all the more,
Son of David, have pity on me.
Jesus stopped and said,
so they called the blind man:
Get up; he is calling you.
At that he threw off his cloak, jumped to his feet, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him,
What do you want me to do for you?
The blind man answered,
Rabbi, I want my sight back.
Jesus said to him,
Go; your faith as healed you.
At once he recovered his sight and followed him on the road.
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Some Related Posts:
Proper 25, Year A:
Proper 25, Year B:
Luke 18 (Parallel to Mark 10):
Prayers for Inclusion:
A Prayer for the Blind:
The theme for Proper 25, Year B, is restoration. Job, who had lost so much, got much more back. Descendants of the original Judean exiles would return to their ancestral homeland. And a blind man sought and received his sight back in the last healing by Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Mark.
Blindness was common in the ancient world, and it resulted from various causes. It was, in Jewish custom of the time, a ritual blemish, rendering one unfit to serve as a priest (Leviticus 21:18). And a blind animal was not suitable for ritual sacrifice (Leviticus 22:22 and Deuteronomy 15:21). So the blind man was, in the estimation of many people in his culture, defective, perhaps even punished by God. That must have taken an emotional toll on the man. Yet the Law (in Leviticus 19:14) forbade placing an obstacle in the way of the blind, so those who told the blind man to be quiet violated the Law of Moses.
Healing stories involving Jesus are about more than correcting the physical, emotional, and psychological disorders of people. They also speak of the restoration to society. The blind man no longer had a ritual blemish; he was no longer allegedly defective or punished by God.
As I write these words, I belong to a culture which considers itself fairly enlightened. It is, in many ways. We even have the Americans with Disabilities Act. And, based on the architecture of certain church buildings in which I have worshiped, I recognize a lack of concern for handicapped access in the late 1800s and early 1900s yet a keen attention to this issue in structures from more recent decades. Yet the disabled still face many challenges in getting from Point A to Point B, entering many buildings, and using many restrooms. Our lack of concern for them forces many of them to the margins; we are not as enlightened as we like to think we are.
Jesus restored people to society; we ought to do the same, as we are able.