Sometimes in our world there is heartache and sadness. But in today's readings there is joy, compassion, and healing. What a wonderful day to celebrate God's love.
In the first reading Jeremiah is proclaiming what God will do. All of God's people will be gathered back and welcomed. The blind and the lame, mothers and those with child will come back on a level road and will not stumble. All of God's people will be coming home. There is no need to fear because we will all be welcomed.
Can you imagine what a wonderful scene this is? We can really know that we will be coming home to God if we choose. No more worry about God not wanting us or that our sins are holding us back. We are wanted by God all of the time: right now, a year from now, and forever.
At times our lives can feel as if God may have abandoned us. We are worried about bills, the future, our children, and even the economy. These worry's can make us feel overwhelmed and out of touch with the world around us. I am beginning to feel some anxiety because of the never ending political commercials on television that focus on our future with gloom and doom.
God tells us in the first reading that she will guide us in all things. That means that no matter what the situation we may be in now, God will get us through it. We are never alone. Listen to God speaking and act in ways that are right. God is there for us and always be. What wonderful news.
The second reading from Hebrews is a about the calling of a priest. At this time in history, only men were called to be priests. Thankfully there are now some brave bishops who have looked with the eyes of justice and right and have spoken out and said that there is no scriptural evidence that women could not be priests. Bishop Richard Sklba of Milwaukee is one of these men. Many, many other learned people of the church have concluded the same thing. A bishop from Europe had the courage to ask seven women to be ordained priests. It is through this action that women bishops became ordained and began ordaining women as priests. There is much joy and freedom in the fact that God has guided a few bishops to break out of the sin of sexism and exclusion to ordain over a hundred women from around the world to be priests to the people of God. Young girls will be encouraged to think of more possibilities in their search for life direction. Young men will be encouraged to think of priesthood as a natural choice because both men and women will be equally represented.
Today we celebrate with joy that some church leaders had the vision and the bravery to include both women and men to be a representative from their communities to "offer gifts and sacrifices for sins for the community" ... and really believe the words in Hebrews that "they will be a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek".
The third reading from Mark, too, announces care and compassion. Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a crowd. A blind man began to call out to Jesus to heal him. This man was admonished to speak out by the crowd. But he continued to call to him. Jesus heard the blind man call told the crowd to tell him to come forward. "What do you want me to do for you?" The man replied, "I want to see." Immediately he was healed. He had the courage to continue yelling to Jesus.
What blindness do you want to be healed from? Is it the blindness to the poor in our midst? Is it the blindness from acting hastily before we get all of the facts? Is it the blindness from wanting to people to behave in certain ways but they do not? Do I have a blindness to not ask the right questions so I will not be singled out from the crowd?
We all have degrees of blindness. Are we willing to ask Jesus to heal us from all of our blindness's even though it might mean we will have to change our actions? It takes courage to be healed. Are we willing to ask our compassionate God to heal us? Accepting healing from God can be uncomfortable. We will have to change some of our set behaviors and be willing to think of other ways of doing things.
Are you and I up to the task?