And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man, and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the village; and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” And he looked up and said, “I see men; but they look like trees, walking.” Then again he laid his hands upon his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly. And he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even enter the village.” (Mark 8: 22-26)
Today in the Gospel Jesus does something noteworthy. Unlike most of the other recorded miracles of Jesus where he healed instantaneously by his touch or by his words, today he heals a blind man progressively, in stages.
After Jesus puts spit on his eyelids, the man can see people looking like walking trees; the next time he did it he could see everything distinctly. Jesus obviously had the power to heal him of his blindness instantaneously, but he progressively healed him, I believe, in order to help the man persevere in hope and faith. Many of Jesus’ miracles since then are progressive. He heals us in stages, so that we, too, may grow in the Christian faith.
That’s how it is with most of us. We believe or we want to believe but total faith in God eludes us. We can’t seem to get to the point of seeing things as God does. In truth, it’s because we have blind spots. Blind spots that allow us to sleep back into the sinful habits of humankind. We lie, we deceive, we discriminate, we judge and on and on.
That blindness is something that Jesus wants to remove. He wants to take it from us, so that we can fully embrace the light of his love. The only question is whether we will open ourselves to accept the light or stubbornly cling to the partial light that we already have.
How do we open ourselves to the fullness of the light? You have to be open and admit that you do not know everything. Only then is there reason to dialogue. You have to have courage to realize that you might face some opposition with people who disagree with you. But the man born blind does not quit. He keeps in dialogue until he fully comes to the light.
You might be experiencing some difficulty in your marriage or in some close relationship. From where you stand and what you see at this moment, you might conclude that the relationship has come to a dead end, that there are irreconcilable differences and no way forward. This gospel reminds you that there may well be a blindness in you that you have not yet recognized and encourages you to keep talking. Keep talking to your partner, to your friends, to counselors so that you might recognize what you do not see and allow Christ to bring you to a fuller sight. Perhaps, then, your relationship may be preserved.
You might know someone who has hurt you deeply, and from what you can see right now, you have concluded there is no way I can forgive. There is no way this relationship can be healed. Keep the dialogue going. Keep trying to understand what you do not understand, so that Christ might lead you to a fuller light and perhaps reconciliation.
There might be someone in your family, in your workplace, in our government with whom you disagree, whom you feel is wrong. From where you stand right now, there is no way that you could understand such people or support them. Today’s gospel reminds us that along with the things that we see, there remains a certain amount of blindness. It is only as we keep discussing, keep thinking, keep talking that we are able to recognize that blindness and then perhaps move forward.
There is nothing wrong with being partially blind until you make the decision to make that blindness permanent. That is why Christ calls us out of blindness into the light. Christ asks us to keep talking, to keep dialoguing so that we might recognize what we do not know and be able to see more fully. As long as we keep talking, we will be able to understand and see more and more. It is when we close the dialogue and close our minds, that we condemn ourselves to blindness.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, open my eyes to the revelation of your healing presence and saving word. Help me to walk in the truth and power of your love and to not stumble in the darkness of sin and unbelief. Use me to help others find your healing light and saving presence as well.”
Are there any blind-spots in your life that cloud your vision of the Lord Jesus and his kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit? Ask the Lord Jesus to increase your faith and trust in him so that you may recognize his voice more clearly as you listen to his word and allow him to transform you more and more through the work and grace of the Holy Spirit who dwells within you.