Monday, November 14, 2011

My blindness is my sight

The more perfectly and purely we see, the more perfectly and purely we love – Blessed Angela of Foligno

Gospel text (Lk 18,35-43):
As Jesus approached Jericho
a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging,
and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening.
They told him,
"Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
He shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!"
The people walking in front rebuked him,
telling him to be silent,
but he kept calling out all the more,
"Son of David, have pity on me!"
Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
"What do you want me to do for you?"
He replied, "Lord, please let me see."
Jesus told him, "Have sight; your faith has saved you."
He immediately received his sight
and followed him, giving glory to God.
When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.

Spiritual blindness may be more common in our Western culture than spiritual sight. So many have been blinded by secular humanism, "the god of the present age" (2 Cor 4:4). Quite often, our society, the culture of the “politically correct”, will try to shut us up: with the blind man in today’s gospel they were not able to. He did not shrink back. Despite «people (…) scolded him, ‘Be quiet!’, he cried out all the more, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’» (Lk 18:39). What a wonderful thing!

Today’s Gospel gives us another example of persistent cries from one who needs help. While others attempted to silence him, he persisted in crying out. Remarkably, Jesus does not ignore or marginalize him, but instead engages with him in a beautiful way. Jesus’ question is a powerful one: “What do you want me to do for you?” All of us could sit for a while with that question. We are often tempted to turn it around so that we get to ask the question. It is more comfortable that way, and of course it is good to want to do something for Him with our lives. But perhaps today it would be good to sit with the possibility that God is asking us that question. How will we answer?

Jesus healing the sight of the blind man – a well-known parable from Luke – is the problem most nations have with the homeless and the “untouchables”. Jesus served those in need, and lived with the impoverished, while we segregate them out of our society and into their own shelters and onto the street. We have let this happen right under our noses without a second glance, however it is also the responsibility of our society and of our hearts to see these problems and take steps in the right direction, standing up for what we believe.

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