Never look down on anybody unless you're helping him up – Our Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see
Gospel text (Mk 8:22-26): When Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida , Jesus was asked to touch a blind man who was brought to him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had put spittle on his eyes and laid his hands upon him, he asked, «Can you see anything?». The man, who was beginning to see, replied, «I see people! They look like trees, but they move around». Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again and the man could see perfectly. His sight was restored and he could see everything clearly. Then Jesus sent him home saying, «Do not return to the village».
About four years ago, a good friend of mine started wearing glasses. Describing his first experience at the optometrist, he told me, “It was crazy—David didn’t realize he couldn’t distinguish the trees on the other side of the highway until the doctor let him test some glasses. Then, when he could see clearer, David exclaimed, ‘Holy cow, look at all of that!’”
I imagine the blind man in today’s Gospel having a similar experience to my friend David. Jesus, rolling up his sleeves, spit on his hands and touched the blind one’s eyes, causing him to see. And see he did…although not clearly at first. Yes, he could see, but things were blurry. Not until Jesus clarified his vision and asked him to look again could the formerly blind man see well.
How many times do I think I can see clearly the paths on which I am walking, only to find out I am misinterpreting the gifts God has given me along my journey? Just like the blind man and my friend David, I think I can see clearly and just fine on my own, but there is so much more beauty God wants me to see if I let him lead and clarify my sight so I can understand.
Mark has framed this section of his gospel to teach us two things: (1) to show how the disciples needed to be healed from their blindness regarding the true nature of Jesus’ Messiaship, and consequently about what it means to be Jesus’ follower; (2) Mark expects his audience (including us) to identify with the blind disciples and to face the fact that we, too, may need to be healed from our own blindness regarding who Jesus is and what it means to follow him.
So today, let us try putting on our glasses, or letting Jesus rub some more spit in our eyes (whichever metaphor you prefer) and let ourselves realize with clarity and understanding what we may have been missing all around us.