The 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time: October 24, 2021
HOMECOMING (Jeremiah 31:7–9)
The survival of the fittest is a merciless principle of life. It bestows worthiness on those who are stronger, swifter, and smarter.
In the lives of species, this principle eliminates those who cannot compete. In the marketplace, it impoverishes those who can be duped. But in the spiritual life, it does not work at all. In the eyes of God, the fit and the lame both survive.
When Israel went into exile, they lost homeland and hope. After years of suffering, they reflected more deeply on their covenant, and eventually God brought them back.
But God brought back not only the fittest. The healthiest of mind, body, and spirit did not return to Jerusalem alone. It must have been quite a procession. The blind and the lame marched in the midst of the remnant who returned. Those offering care and those needing care took their place within the immense throng. God brought them all back on a level road, so that none might stumble.
In many ways we are all unfit to enter the house of God. Our sins make us feel unworthy.
But God has opened the doors. We may be blind to grace. We may be lame in charity. But God has made us pregnant with hope in receiving the love that heaven so bountifully bestows.
YOUR VOCATION (Hebrews 5:1–6)
God has chosen you. You may not always feel it. You may at times feel as though you’re in the wrong place, the wrong job, or the wrong century. But God has chosen to create you here and now. God has given you gifts to face the present and to prepare for the glory of the future.
We often speak of vocations in terms of religious life. Truly, God chooses some people for special ministry. The Letter to the Hebrews speaks about the vocation of Old Testament priesthood as well as the priesthood of Jesus. “Every high priest is taken from among men,” the letter says. It does not say, “Certain men decide to become high priests.” Rather, “No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.”
Even Jesus did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest. Instead, God had him in mind with two prophecies from the Book of Psalms: “You are my son: this day I have begotten you”; and “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
It is often easier to see a vocation among religious men and women because their work is totally dedicated to God. But others also have a vocation—in the family, at work, and in society. God has chosen you. God has taken you from among others and placed you in the world now to proclaim the nearness of glory.
Reflections: Lectionary Bulletin Inserts: Reflections on the First and Second Readings, Year B© 2019 Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications. All rights reserved. Written by Paul Turner. Lectionary for Mass © 2001, CCD.