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Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Peter 2:2-5, 9-12 & Mk. 10:46-52

In the earliest days of the Church the title 'priest' was reserved to Jesus Christ. Whenever the priesthood was applied to a human person, it was done so only in the plural. The baptised were known as 'a priestly people' and it was not until the seventh century that the title was applied to the ordained minister. This fact should help us realise that Jesus is the only priest of our religion and that He gives the baptised the power of sharing in His priesthood to varying degrees. A bishop shares in the fullness of Christ's priesthood, a priest in lesser degree, a deacon less than the priest and the laity in a lesser degree still.

Only an ordained priest can make Christ present under the appearances of bread and wine and he does this for the sake of the people. The laity at every Mass must be very conscious that they are only sharing in the priesthood when, along with the priest, they offer the bread and wine to God the Father. The most noble action they could ever perform in their lives is when at Mass they see the priest raise the Host and the Chalice and say the words, 'Heavenly Father, I offer you your Son and myself.' And at Holy Communion they should complete their sacrifice by receiving Jesus. Just as it is unthinkable for a priest to say Mass and not complete the sacrifice by receiving the Lord, a lay person who is in a state of grace and has kept the fast should complete their sacrifice by going to Holy Communion.

A priest at his ordination is admonished to be holy like the things he touches. In today's reading St. Peter admonishes both priest and laity to be holy and keep themselves from the selfish passions that attack the soul. The holier our lives, the more pleasing will be the exercise of our priestly function before our heavenly Father.

Bartimaeus wanted the attention of Jesus and so He screamed, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me." He wanted something badly enough to keep shouting even when everyone rebuked him. Notice, too, Bartimaeus' response when Jesus called him. Apparently, he had no doubt that Jesus would do what he asked. Somehow, Bartimaeus knew that Jesus loved him. Like a child, he acted aggressively, confident of that love and in the end, Jesus commended him.

The truth is that Jesus wants each of us to have an attitude similar to that of Bartimaeus in terms of faith and to trust unconditionally in His love. When you think about it, we have no reason not to have such faith. Jesus asked Bartimaeus, "What do you want me to do for you?" And He asks us too. He wants us to bring Him, not only the big things - our sight, health, marriages, and the like - but also the little things that stir us or bother us daily.

Jesus is calling to us right now. He knows our hearts and understands our innermost being. Let us not be afraid to throw aside everything that hinders us. Let us go, spring up, and run to Him as Bartimaeus did, full of confidence in His mercy and love! We must be persistent. If we think He doesn't hear us, we must raise our voice. When our mind tells us to be quiet and not bother Him, we must call out all the more. Jesus wants us to bring the core of our hearts to Him, our hopes and desires, our fears and failures, our wants and needs. Like any loving parent, He will give us everything we need that He knows is in our best interests.

Lord Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us! We know You can heal us! We believe in Your love, and in Your power to heal. Come, Lord, and pour out Your healing power on us and upon everyone who is calling out to You right now.

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