30th Sunday in Ordinary Time B21
Have you ever been part of a large crowd? It can be exciting. Maybe you find yourself caught up in the emotions of others, behaving in ways that are not like you, chanting some slogan and not knowing what will happen. You are carried along by the enthusiasm of the others in the crowd. A large unified crowd can have a peaceful and noble goal or be motivated to some violent end. We’ve recently experienced both in our country.
Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem and a sizable crowd was following Jesus. Why? Because they thought he would be triumphantly greeted as the Messiah and would restore the greatness of Israel. Imagine their excitement as they are making their march to Jerusalem, reclaiming their city from the Romans and reestablish its place as a powerful capital, bringing peace and prosperity. The apostles, I suspect, were a bit more cautious in their exhilaration after being warned three times by Jesus what was awaiting him in Jerusalem although, I suspect again, they were getting caught up in the elation of others.
But their progress is interrupted by the cry of a blind beggar, Bartimaeus: “Son of David, have pity on me!” Of course this was an unwelcome disruption and they warned him to be quiet. But he was undeterred. “Son of David, have pity on me!” Somehow Jesus heard his plaintive cry amid the noise of the crowd and stopped, and the procession halted. He called him; some helped him to come to Jesus. Jesus asked, “What do want me to do for you?” Bartimaeus answered: “I want to see!” Notice Jesus didn’t do anything, no touching of eyes, no command; just a simple declaration: “Go on your way; your faith has saved you.” And the way of Bartimaeus was to follow Jesus.
A different faith is called for in the 1st reading, a faith of hope and sure expectation. Jeremiah is writing to the people in exile, telling them the Lord will bring them back from the land of the north and the ends of the world to which have been scattered. Physical infirmities won’t stop them. They will be an immense crowd, making their way back on a level road without stumbling under the Lord’s guidance and consolation. Their tears would become laughter and their journey would be like a pleasant dream. And they sang, “The Lord has done great things for us.”
The Lord has done great things for us as well. The Lord has sent us his Son, who has had every emotion we have, revealed God’s immeasurable, unconditional love, care and mercy for us, no matter what. Do you believe that? Do you really believe that in the depths of your mind and heart? The Good News seems too good to be true. But Jesus proclaimed and lived it, and died and rose to confirm it.
The Good News is exactly that, Good News. Do you believe that? If you do, really believe that, live with joy for your faith has saved you.
 The mystery of the Incarnation.