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Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year B
October 29, 2006

Catechist Background and Preparation
To prepare for the session, read all the readings:
Jeremiah 31:7-9
Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Hebrews 5:1-6
Mark 10:46-52

Spend a few minutes reflecting on what these readings mean for you today. Was there a particular reading which appealed to you? Was there a word or image that engaged you?

Read the Word in Liturgy and Catholic Doctrine sections. These give you background on what you will be doing this session. Read over the session outline and make it your own. Check to see what materials you will need for the session.

The Word in Liturgy
The reading from Jeremiah is a joyful prophecy of the restoration of the Jewish people from the Exile. Jeremiah’s description of this “second exodus” includes lush imagery that had by Jesus’ time become key characteristics of the messianic era. The ingathering of the blind and the lame, in particular, is portrayed by the gospel writers as convincing proof of Jesus’ messianic identity. Most probably, the reference to the blind in this text from Jeremiah is the reason why it was chosen to be read with today’s gospel story of the cure of Bartimaeus. The Responsorial Psalm is a classic expression of the joy felt by the returning exiles, indeed by all who have experienced God’s saving hand in their lives. As such, this psalm might just as well be found on the lips of Bartimaeus as on our own, as we contemplate the saving love that we have received from the Lord.

The story of Bartimaeus’s cure is strategically placed in the plan of Mark’s gospel. Just before he enters Jerusalem, Jesus cures the blindness of one who has already “recognized” him, as Bartimaeus’s use of the messianic title “Son of David” shows. Suggestive of the response that every disciple should have, Bartimaeus then “followed him on the way” to Jerusalem, that is, to his suffering, death, and glorious resurrection.

Catholic Doctrine
The Common Priesthood of the Baptized

Catholics believe that the whole people of God is priestly. Members of the Church are given a share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ through the sacrament of baptism. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through a life of faith, hope, and love manifested by the particular station in life discerned by each one, according to the Holy Spirit.

The ministerial, or ordained, priesthood of bishops and priests, while related to the common priesthood, is not the same. It is at the service of the common priesthood of all believers. Its purpose is to assist in the unfolding of baptismal grace of all Christians, by means of which Christ continues to build up and lead the Church. Given this distinct purpose, the ministerial priesthood is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of holy orders.

Christ, the one high priest who lovingly offered himself to God the Father, is the source and font of every ministry in the Church. He gives authority, mission, orientation, and goal to the Church.

 


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