October 24, 2021
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, [Bartimaeus] began to cry out and say,
“Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”
~ Mark 10:47
Brothers and Sisters,
What’s the difference between pity and piety? An e, — obviously.
The Letter to the Hebrews describes Jesus as the high priest with four characteristics denoting such a title provided:
- One of us, “taken from among men.”
- Appointed by God.
- Our representative before God.
- One who offers gifts and sacrifice.
However, unlike the Levitical priesthood, exclusively the ancestors of Aaron, Jesus hails from the House of Judah. Sharing in the royal lineage of King David, Jesus serves as priest and king, just as Melchizedek, the mysterious king who offered bread and wine before blessing Abraham.
Our high priest is truly patient with us, as he, fully human, was challenged in all the human ways except sin. As he shows the blind man, Bartimaeus, in the Gospel, Jesus bestows pity or mercy. But the Lord calls us to contribute to his work of redemption, and we should emulate the compassion of Christ by caring for those we love and struggle to love.
In this Year of the Eucharist, the Archdiocese has emphasized the presence of Christ in the Eucharist in four specific ways: in the sacrament of his Body and Blood, in the proclamation of the Word, in the person of the celebrant, and the assembly formed as the Body of Christ. Central to our faith, the Eucharist illuminates the vertical aspect of our relationship with our God, “above,” along with the essential horizontal element — humanity formed as the Body of Christ joining our brothers and sisters.
This coming Monday’s celebration of All Saints, the central teaching is the presence of Christ in the assembly. Our relationship with God, while personal, cannot be reduced to just a private connection, as we are called in communion — united with one another, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When we think of piety or a pious person, we naturally think of reverence – our proper disposition toward the Lord. We owe respect and honor to the Lord. Intricately connected, though, is our disposition to our brothers and sisters, the mercy or pity we ought to show them. Our compassionate, high priest is present when we gather in prayer, whether in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, or parish Church. Jesus gathers us and sends us forth to deepen our reliance upon the Lord and our love and care for one another.
On Friday, October 29th, we will host our next Festival of Praise, another excellent opportunity to gather together as the Body of Christ, worshiping the Lord. Our gathering will include our confirmation candidates (to be confirmed on November 5th) and their families in a special way. Please ask the Holy Spirit to pour forth his gifts upon them. May these young men and women recognize their infinite value in the Body of Christ and recognize the Holy Spirit active in their lives.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett