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Thursday – Eighth Week – OT2
Readings: 1 Pt 2:2-5, 9-12; Mk 10:46-52.
1/ First Reading (1 Pt 2:2-5, 9-12): 2 Like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, 3 for you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, 5 and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
9 But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10 Once you were “no people” but now you are God’s people; you “had not received mercy” but now you have received mercy.
11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and sojourners to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul. 12 Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that if they speak of you as evildoers, they may observe your good works and glorify God on the day of visitation.
2/ Gospel (Mk 10:46-52): 46 They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. 47 On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” 50 He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 51 Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” 52 Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
I. THEME: Let Christ control your soul.
People often have a tendency to choose for themselves an idol to worship: some choose a well-known actor or actress, some choose famous players in sports, some choose singers who have attractive voice; but can these idols help anything for their fans who admire them? Why don’t they choose the One who created, bestows blessings, protects, and died for them to live forever?
Today readings emphasize Christ’s role which no one can replace in people’s life. In the first reading, the author of the Second Letter of Peter confirms that God predestines Christ as the source of the salvation and of all graces, so all faithful need to approach Christ and acclaim Him as the center of their life. If they do so, they shall not lack any necessary thing for their life. In the Gospel, the Jericho blind believed only Jesus can heal him, so when he knew Jesus is passing by, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” When Jesus heard his begging, He called and healed him from his sickness.
1/ First Reading: Let God raise you to the holy priesthood.
1.1/ You should come close to Christ:
(1) The one who had just be reborn in Baptism is compared as a newborn, so the author advised them: You should “long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation.” God’s words are compared as the pure spiritual milk, it shall nourish and help them to become the mature faithful in faith and in love. St. Paul and the author of the Letter to the Hebrews also used the image of milk which is necessary to nourish the faithful who had just believed in Christ; when they are mature, they can have solid food (I Cor 3:2; Heb 5:12).
(2) The image of the living temple with Christ as the corner stone is also used by many authors to stress the close relationship between Christ and the faithful. Christ is “a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God” (2 Pet 2:4; Mat 21:42; Mk 12:10; Lk 20:17; Acts 4:11). The author of the first reading also advised: “Let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” The author of the Letter to the Ephesians explained more: “19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. 21 Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; 22 in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph 2:20-22).
1.2/ Through Christ, God achieved wonderful things for His people: The author lists four privileges which the faithful had when they were baptized, as follows:
– But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of Him.
– You are called out of darkness into His wonderful light.
– Once you were “no people” but now you are God’s people.
– You “had not received mercy” but now you have received mercy.
Because of these privileges which God gives the faithful through Christ, so the faithful have these following duties:
(1) To keep away from worldly desires that wage war against the soul. Worldly desires are not only limited to sexual desires; but also extended to all desires related to human beings such as: jealousy, greed, idol worshipping and deceit… The reason which the author gives because “you are aliens and sojourners.” The world is not the permanent place of the faithful, but only a temporary place on the way to heaven.
(2) To maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that if they speak of you as evildoers: The early Church was unfairly treated, the world labeled the faithful with all incorrect names such as: Cannibalism (Eucharistic), separatism, not honoring parents… The author advised the faithful that the best way to oppose their calumnies is to continue to do good works and to live an exemplary life, so they may observe your good works and glorify God on the day of visitation; because “words are just shaking; but good works shall attract people.”
2/ Gospel: “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
2.1/ The Jericho blind’s firm faith: We can recognize many good qualities from the blind though it is only in a short passage:
(1) He clearly knew his need: The blind totally live-in darkness, there is a great suffering for those who never see light. Since he was blind, he must beg for his living and is disrespected by many. The spiritual blind is suffered more because they must live with deceit and fallacy. Is there anything more suffering than a person who did not know the truth, especially the truth about human destiny!
(2) He knew who can heal him of his sickness: The Jericho man is blind, not deaf. By using his ears, he knew that the only one can heal him is Jesus. When the opportunity to encounter Jesus comes, he determines not to let it pass by. The spiritual blind is only enlightened by God’s truth. Only God can take away people’s darkness and enlighten their mind. Jesus affirmed: “I am the light of the world, I am the way, the truth and the life.”
(3) He doesn’t let any obstacle that prevents him to come to the doctor: When Jesus passed by the blind called Jesus twice, the second was louder than the first though he was prohibited by the crowd. When he knew Jesus called him, he threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Those who are spiritual blind should have a similar attitude: Do not let an opportunity to learn about God pass by, because that opportunity might never come again.
2.2/ Jesus’ compassion for the blind: God never denies His children who firmly believe in Him. Jesus gave light to the blind because He saw his desire to see and his faith. He said to him: “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way. God will surely not let those want to know Him be desperate. He gives people many opportunities to learn about Him and Christ through sending His prophets to preach from the outside and the Holy Spirit to enlighten from the inside. Who is sincere to look for Him, that person will surely meet Him.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We need to learn to understand Christ’s important role in our life. Through Him, God bestows salvation and blessings on us.
– We need to recognize our lacking blessings and have courage to come to Jesus and humbly ask for His mercy.
– Once we are permeated with Christ’s knowledge and love, we have a duty to become His faithful witnesses to preach about His love for all people.