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Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
When they arrived at Bethsaida, they brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on him and asked, “Do you see anything?” Looking up he replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” Then he laid hands on his eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me a deeper faith that I may love you for your sake and not merely for the works that you perform or graces that you give me.
- Sacramental Nature of Jesus’ Healing: Jesus, Incarnate God, does not need to make use of spittle, mud, or anything else to heal someone. The power of his Word is sufficient, as he proved by curing the Syrophoenician’s daughter with a mere “…you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter” (Mark 7:29). But once again, he steps down to each person’s level. He communicates in their “language.” Spittle was understood to have healing properties in those days. We can marvel at God’s pedagogy with us through his Incarnation and his establishment of the sacraments, as a tangible and efficacious means of bringing about our healing. Do I firmly believe in the efficacious power of God’s Word and sacraments?
- Progressive Seeing: Part of God’s pedagogy also involves eliciting free human cooperation for the purpose of a progressive and deepening union with him. Just like the physical healing of a wound is progressive and takes time, so too is our spiritual maturation, our ability to see with faith. Just as Jesus healed the blind man with progressive steps, so too does he progressively heal our deepest wounds, with our cooperation. “Healing the wounds” of disordered tendencies is an ongoing journey that requires shedding what obscures vision, refocusing periodically, waiting for clarity, and at times allowing God to show us the next step, even if it is just one step forward at a time. How intentionally engaged am I in that journey with the Lord?
- Shifting Our Focus: Jesus commanded, “Do not even go into the village.” Commentators say that he was avoiding undue attention that would lead to misinterpretations of his messianic message. Perhaps Jesus didn’t want the once-blind man to lose focus now that he could see physically. He knew the common trap of short-sighted vision. It is easy to place all our focus on the gifts given and miss sight of the Giver himself. If we want to grow in our friendship with Jesus, we must progressively shift our focus from an overrated self-love, through a love for God that is still self-serving because we seek the gifts he can give us, and finally arrive at a selfless love for God for his sake alone.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, thank you for the gift of my human freedom that enables me to cooperate in your plan to bring me into a deeper union with you. Purify my heart and my vision that I may come to love you for your sake alone.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will give you thanks for your gifts and seek to love you for your sake alone.
For Further Reflection: Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, On Loving God, Chapter 15, “Of the four degrees of love, and of the blessed state of the heavenly fatherland,” https://www.pathsoflove.com/bernard/on-loving-god.html.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala.