bible blog 164

This blog follows the daily bible readings of the Catholic Church

now you are God's people

Reading 1,  1 Peter 2:2-5, 9-12

2 Like new-born babies all your longing should be for milk — the unadulterated spiritual milk — which will help you to grow up to salvation, 3 at any rate if you have tasted that the Lord is good . 4 He is the living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen by God and precious to him; set yourselves close to him 5 so that you, too, may be living stones making a spiritual house as a holy priesthood to offer the spiritual sacrifices made acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

9 But you are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were a non-people and now you are the People of God; once you were outside his pity; now you have received pity. 11 I urge you, my dear friends, as strangers and nomads, to keep yourselves free from the disordered natural inclinations that attack the soul. 12 Always behave honourably among gentiles so that they can see for themselves what moral lives you lead, and when the day of reckoning comes, give thanks to God for the things which now make them denounce you as criminals.

strangers and nomads

The author jumps from one metaphor to another. Believers are babies who need spiritual milk. They taste that the Lord is good (Psalm 34). But Jesus is the living stone (Psalm 118: the stone rejected by the builders, which turns out to be the cornerstone) and the believers are also living stones who can be aligned with him to build a spiritual temple, that is, a priestly community which offers only spiritual sacrifices, not animal ones. This new “nation” of priests (Exodus 19:6 -the world-wide Christian community) has been called out of darkness (as in Genesis chapter 1) in their case the darkness of paganism. As gentiles, they were no-people and did not know God’s pity (Hosea 1:6). They should become in their earthly lives like the Patriarchs of Israel, (Genesis 23:4) travelling, but not settling, for their home is in heaven. This patchwork of biblical language shows how the Jewish bible became the scripture of the Christian community, by applying the terms of the Mosaic covenant to the new covenant in Jesus. How Christians use the Hebrew scriptures is still a live issue. The example of this letter suggests that they should not be rejected but transformed. This passage says that the new Christian community can learn from Israel how to be “the people of God”

Gospel, Mark 10:46-52

46 They reached Jericho; and as he left Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus — that is, the son of Timaeus — a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and cry out, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ 48 And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.’

49 Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him here.’ So they called the blind man over. ‘Courage,’ they said, ‘get up; he is calling you.’

50 So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. 51 Then Jesus spoke, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘Rabbuni, let me see again.’

52 Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has saved you.’ And at once his sight returned and he followed him along the road.

Bartimaeus is blind, but he can see that Jesus is the Son of David, that is, the Messiah. Others, including the disciples are blind in this regard. When Jesus heals his physical ailment, it is in recognition of his spiritual insight, his “faith”. His confession of faith is made complete in discipleship: he “follows Jesus on the road.”

Although it is not a general rule, many “disabled” people I’ve known, have possessed greater spiritual insight than myself. With all my faculties, I’ve often been blind to the truth.

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