THIRTIETH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
The Sunday Scriptures
Bartimaeus in Jericho cries out a prayer of faith ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me’ which is a powerful prayer for each one of us. But the physical healing of Bartimaeus is a teaching to the disciples about needing their eyes opened by the Lord in order to follow him (Mk 10:46-52). Jeremiah’s oracles cover the period leading up to the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 597 B.C., the vassalage of Jehoiakim to Babylon and the final destruction of the city in 587 B.C. Like so many of the prophets, Jeremiah is given the understanding and the power to preach that the disasters are linked with the people’s breaking of the Covenant – a word that occurs twenty two times in the text. But amid the disasters in which Jeremiah and the whole nation find themselves, a series of oracles of salvation are included in the text as we have it today. The faith that Lord will bring back, gather and heal his people is one that can sustain those in crisis situations. The whole of the section of 26:1-33:26, of which we have an extract today (31:7-9) is shot through with such hope. The Letter to the Hebrews spells out the nature of the Jesus, the sympathetic mediator, the High Priest. His credentials come not from the Aaronic priesthood (as he is from the tribe of Judah), but that which has always preceded it, the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:1-6).
Gaudium et Spes Part II: Chapter 2 The Proper Development of Culture (53-62) 
Chapter 2, Part II of Gaudium et Spes is entitled ‘The Proper Development of Culture’ and after examining the cultural situation today looks at some principals for proper cultural development. Throughout there is the recognition of the wonderful riches of human culture and also how the Church is called to work with this and enrich it. It recognises, in a section ‘Faith and Culture’, how much human endeavours in philosophy, history, mathematics, science and arts ‘greatly contribute towards bringing the human race to a higher understanding of truth, goodness and beauty, to points of view having universal values.’ (57) But it adds in the section on relations between culture and the good news of Christ that ‘The good news of Christ continually renews the life and culture of fallen human beings; it combats and removes error and evil…it takes the spiritual qualities and endowments of every age and nation and with supernatural riches it causes them to blossom, as though it were, from within.’ (58)
The life of faith of the disciple demands a consistent focusing on the Lord and asking for his mercy, like Jeremiah and Bartimaeus. As Gaudium et Spes reminds us, the life of faith involves at the same time not being blind to the presence of the Lord in our culture and in all the scientific developments of humanity.
Points for reflection
- How do we help each other and our society to regain the virtue of hope?
- What are the best ways of trying to foster faith as the climate of culture becomes increasingly secular?
- What are the major spiritual qualities of our culture today upon which we can build?
Canon Mervyn Tower