Today’s reading from Jeremiah again sounds the note of hope that God will restore the land and its people to wholeness. The promised salvation, however, is accompanied by the justice and righteousness that comes under the rule of God’s Messiah. Although we modern Westerners are wary of both rulers and rules, we must not draw the conclusion that salvation comes in radically individualized and self-centered forms of life. Neither individuals nor their communities can exist in wholeness when self-satisfaction is the prevailing cultural idol.
The first reading from Mark shows the blindness of Jesus’ disciples to the nature of his life and mission. Although Jesus has repeatedly told them of the road of suffering and sacrifice he must walk, they have failed to grasp either its reality or its true meaning. Like all of us, they mostly see what they expect to see, and their expectations for a Messiah center on force and conquest. As we’re shown in the second reading from Mark, the beggar Bartimaeus’ sight is healed when he recognizes his need and expresses his faithfulness in Jesus despite the voices that would shout him down. May we likewise ignore any voices – even our own – that seek to talk us out of crying for Jesus’ mercy.