Oct. 25, Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B. Readings:
1) Jeremiah 31:7-9
2) Hebrews 5:1-6
Gospel Mark 10:46-52
By Sharon Perkins
Catholic News Service
In the popular Lerner and Loewe musical, “My Fair Lady,” Eliza Doolittle — tiring of her suitor’s flowery declarations of devotion — impatiently sings, “Don’t talk of stars, burning above; if you’re in love, show me!” A popular adage similarly suggests, “Actions speak louder than words.” Today’s readings offer several illustrations of just how loudly God’s actions proclaim his love for his people.
Jeremiah the prophet conveys to the exiled remnant of Israel a vivid description of all the ways that God their Father will rescue them from enslavement and restore them to their home. Verbs such as “deliver,” “gather,” “console,” “guide” and “lead” make it clear that their God is one of action.
In the Gospel, Jesus encounters a blind man who begs for pity. Jesus doesn’t merely pat the beggar on the back, mumble a few platitudes and continue on his way. He asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” and then he does it.
On Dec. 8 this year, the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will commence with the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica, inviting all to enter it as a “Door of Mercy.”
Pope Francis’ explanation of the jubilee, “Misericordiae Vultus,” describes how God’s mercy — or his “loving concern for each one of us” — is indicated by “God’s action toward us. He does not limit himself merely to affirming his love, but makes it visible and tangible. Love, after all, can never be just an abstraction. By its very nature, it indicates something concrete.”
The Holy Father goes on to say that “this is the path that the merciful love of Christians must also travel. … As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.”
How can flawed and sinful human beings be vessels of the Father’s great mercy? The writer of Hebrews gives us a clue by observing that the high priest, a human being also, “is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring for he himself is beset by weakness.”
We open our doors of mercy toward others when we honestly and sincerely recall our own need for God’s mercy — and then act accordingly, in the way that God acts toward us.
How have you most recently experienced God’s mercy and loving concern for you? To whom is God inviting you to show mercy through concrete action?