Life is dreadful, you’ve seen the city and the country you love ravaged by war, the people you know and love taken prisoner to a foreign land. All seems lost, but in the midst of this the prophet Jeremiah in this morning’s first reading is filled with hope, that God will save and comfort his people. It may seem strange that the prophet can give such a joyous message in such an awful situation, but his trust is in a God who can heal our wounds and restore us. In the Letter to the Hebrews we see as Jesus Christ is without sin he is able to make a perfect offering of himself, upon the Cross, to restore and heal humanity.
In last week’s Gospel we saw how Jesus knew this of himself, saving humanity through his death and resurrection, healing our wounds, giving us the hope of eternal life in him, and living a life of service, fulfilling the prophesy of Jeremiah.
In this morning’s gospel we have a blind beggar, Bartimaeus. When he hears that Jesus is coming he cries out ‘Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me’. He cannot see but he knows his need of God. Jesus does not turn him away, he does not ignore him; instead he asks him ‘what do you want me to do for you?’ Bartimaeus’ faith makes him well, it saves him, and allows his to follow Jesus and walk along the right path.
We all long to be on the path that leads to God, a God who saves us, who loves us, who heals and restores us. As it says in John’s Gospel ‘I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ If we walk with the eyes of faith we will be on a straight path, to the one who heals and restores humanity.
All the world needs to cry ‘Jesus, son of God have mercy on me’. We need to know our need of God, we need to be healed and restored by him, like Bartimaeus. The world needs this to be fully alive in God, to turn away from sin and the ways of the world: living for others rather than ourselves, loving God and our neighbour. We should remember what Jesus said earlier in Mark’s Gospel (Mk 2:17) ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’ Christ came on our behalf, to bind up our wounds.
The sin which mars God’s image in us, which separates us from God, which stops us from being what we can be, is borne by Jesus on the Cross. He binds our wounds by bearing the mark of nails, he heals us with the stream of his blood which flows on Calvary. By his stripes we are healed. We are healed by him so that we may see clearly and travel along the path of faith, a straight path on which we should not stumble, journeying with our wounded healer, to live out our faith in our lives as those healed and called by Christ and made part of his body, the church, healed by his sacraments, fed by his word and his Body and Blood, to be strengthened on our journey of faith, it is why we are here today, to be fed by him and with him, that our wounds may be healed.
We are all of us sinners in need of the love and mercy of him who bled for us on Calvary and who rose again for us, that we might share new life in him. Let us be fed by him, restored and healed by him, to have life in all its fullness. For we follow the one who heals us not out of blind obedience or fear but through joy, the joy of being free and truly alive in Christ. So let us live that life and give glory to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, to whom be ascribed as is most right and just, all might, majesty, glory dominion, and power, now and forever.