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the Fifth Sunday in ANGELS’ Tide

Sermon Starter

The Gospel marks a turning point in two regards. First, regarding Jesus’ earthly ministry, this is the last Gospel covering His ministry as we would know it. Chapter 11 ushers in Passion Week, beginning with the Palm Sunday narrative. Secondly, this is the last continual reading from St. Mark’s Gospel for this liturgical year. Following next week’s celebration of the Reformation, the Gospel readings will focus on the last days, preparing us to meet our Lord when He comes again on the Last Day, the end of all time, when He will come and gather the faithful to Himself into all eternity.

Jesus and His disciples came to Jericho. They were on their way to Jerusalem for Jesus’ triumphal entry into the holy city. Leaving Jericho, Jesus, His disciples, and a large crowd of followers who would shout “Hosanna” before long came upon a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, son of a seemingly well-known Timaeus, sitting at the side of the road. He heard that Jesus of Nazareth was coming, and so he cried out for the Lord: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many of the people told him to be quiet, to not bother Jesus. He let out an even louder cry, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” His prayer should ring familiar in our ears because we offer up this prayer each time we are gathered here, in the Divine Service. His prayer is the basis our Kyrie: “Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.” Our Prayer of the Church reflects his prayer as we conclude each petition, saying, “Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.” Bartimaeus wanted the Lord to hear his prayer, his petition that the Lord would restore his sight. The Lord called for him and heard his simple request. The blind man simply wished to see. The Lord, knowing all things, saw into the blind man’s heart and saw his faith. The blind man knew who Jesus was, for he called Him the Son of David; he knew that the Messiah would come from David’s line, that the Messiah would come from Nazareth. The Lord rewarded Bartimaeus’ God-given faith and restored his sight. “Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your faith has made you well.’” (v. 52a). Which way did he go? He went the way Jesus went, following Him on the way to Jerusalem. His following Jesus was an act of worship as he responded to the Lord’s goodness.

Sunday School Starter

Today, the Early Childhood Class will study “The Praying King,” which tells the account of Hezekiah. When Hezekiah becomes king over Judah, he removes the altars and idols. Having conquered Israel, the king of Assyria attacks Judah, mocking Hezekiah and God. Reassured by the prophet Isaiah, Hezekiah appeals to God to uphold and protect His people. Isaiah responds by prophesying the defeat of Sennacherib’s army. That night, the angel of the Lord strikes down 185,000 of the Assyrians. The students will continue memorizing the Third Commandment and Explanation.

The Lower Elementary Catechumens will study “Living Water,” which tells what happens when Jesus and His disciples pass through Samaria on their way from Judea to Galilee. Stopping at Jacob’s well, Jesus remains behind as the disciples go in search of food. When a Samaritan woman comes to draw water, Jesus begins a conversation with her, revealing all her hidden secrets. Through their conversation, the woman recognizes Jesus as the true Messiah, and she spreads the Good News throughout the town. This class is memorizing the Fifth Commandment and Explanation.

Catechesis with Pastor will conclude their study of the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed and the Divine Liturgy. The Ten Commandments with their explanations and the Close of the Commandments should be memorized by now.