Hearing and reading the scripture from the Sunday of October 29th, I find myself wondering how long will it be until we experience the description in the first reading of coming home? Will I experience that from this side of heaven or might I be part of the welcoming committee?
Behold, I will bring them back
from the land of the north;
I will gather them from the ends of the world,
with the blind and the lame in their midst,
the mothers and those with child;
they shall return as an immense throng.
They departed in tears,
but I will console them and guide them;
I will lead them to brooks of water,
on a level road, so that none shall stumble.
In the first reading today we hear about the return of the remnant of Israel from exile. All are brought back and for those with special needs, the God of Israel will do what is necessary in order for them to come home. Jeremiah draws us into the poetry of a people exiled and finally led home by a loving God, who is faithful.
As a hospice chaplain I am often in conversations with people preparing to die, who wonder, “What will it be like when I die?” I have had so many people tell me the impact of having had near death experiences and how it has made them excited about the next part of their journey. I also have people tell me of their fear of the after life, especially if they haven’t made peace with this life.
There are other days when I think about the scripture verse from Jesus that says, “The kingdom is at hand,” and I wonder am I doing anything to help it be more obvious? Or I wonder am I awake enough to see the miracles in the here and now?
In the gospel reading Jesus responds to hopes of a blind man who is calling out Jesus’ name. Jesus asks him, “What is it that you want from me?” The man replies, “I want to see.” Jesus responds and the man receives his sight.
In this gospel story Jesus offers this man an opportunity to join the remnant of Israel. However, the man in this story already has the most important kind of sight, he can see with the eyes of the soul.
Today, we like the people of both Jeremiah and Jesus time are waiting for the fullness of the kingdom. We, too, may not be able to see because of the attitudes which keep us from asking, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.” Our hearts may be lifeless, or at the very least tired. Today, this blind man full of faith and poetry calls to us to live the reign of God, the question is, dare we risk our safety to call out, “Jesus, Son of David, I want to see.”