A Note on Today’s Readings Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost – Year B
Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus heals a blind man. It is the man’s faith which gives him his sight. The rules of religion understood blindness to be caused by sin, so this man was excluded from the life of the people. Jesus, however, welcomes him, heals him, and includes him among his followers.
Job hears God’s reply that God is unknowable. Realizing how small and weak he is and how presumptuous he was to question God, Jobnow repents. God’s response is to undo all the trouble Job had and to restore him and his family to their former good fortune. This little fictional story represents a deepening of the Jewish conception of God during the last few centuries before the time of Jesus.
Our second reading continues the letter to Jewish Christians. This was probably written after Jerusalem and its Temple was destroyed, thus there were no more sacrifices offered. The writer is reminding his readers that Jesus’ own self-offering makes continued sacrifices of animals by fallible human priests no longer necessary. Jesus’ one sacrifice of himself is eternally effective for all humanity.
In the Eucharist, our use of physical bread and wine as the elements of spiritual communion with God remind us of this truth. We become part of the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus so that we can live in his life eternally. We cannot live apart from God or apart from moral responsibility to all people. In baptism, our spiritual blindness is healed, and we are called to grow into a Body of people committed to justice, reconciliation, and righteous living.