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Eyes of Faith
Friday of the First Week of Advent
And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed [him], crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.
Opening Prayer: Lord of light and color, open my eyes to see your marvelous works in my life and in the lives of others.
- Why Does He Ask?: Why did Jesus ask the blind men whether they believed they can be healed? Jesus was looking for faith, a clinging to his person. The blind men made a personal appeal to the Son of David, the one capable of mercy, and Our Lord responded in kind: “Are you sure I’m the one who can help you?” They affirmed that he was truly the answer to their problems. When we arrive at that level of trust in and adherence to the Lord, miracles can happen.
- Why Did He Touch?: Eyes are not for touching. We blink spontaneously when anything or anyone comes near our eyes. That’s why we have eyelids. So why would Jesus touch the eyes of the blind men when he didn’t need to? We can only speculate. We know that the eyes are the most beautiful part of the human face. And our own eyes are precisely what we never see. But to be blind—to see neither our eyes nor the eyes of others is a great impoverishment, a darkening of the world for us. Jesus chose to begin communicating with these men through their heightened sense of touch. Only then, having touched them, did he open their eyes to sight. Likewise, Jesus knows perfectly well how to reach each of us, despite our flaws, and bring us out of darkness into his light—if only we trust he can heal us.
- Why Does He Warn Them?: God wills all men to be saved. Why then did Christ “warn them sternly” to keep the matter quiet? The typical answer is that their extravagant preaching might have inhibited Christ’s free movement among the people. Crowds hankering after miracles could have disrupted his true mission. But perhaps there’s another reason: Sometimes words are inadequate. Thomas à Kempis, in Book I Chapter 20 of The Imitation of Christ speaks of the love of solitude and silence. “Whoever is resolved to live an inward and spiritual life must, with Jesus, withdraw from the crowds…” Perhaps Christ knew that silent gratitude would best preserve their peace of soul.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I do not always understand your commands, but I know that obedience to your will is always best. When I am blind about something, I will ask you for sight, but above all, I will ask you to look at me so that I can be comforted by your love for me and become strong and faithful.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will thank you for all the things I see and understand, and entrust to you all that I cannot yet see or understand.
For Further Reflection: Meditate on John Milton’s poem “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent.”
Written by Br. Erik Burckel, LC.