Let us look at our life. We are used to thinking of our experiences in a dualistic kind of way: the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, etc. But in fact, through all things God does great things for us.
In the Gospel our Lord asks a searching question: ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ As we consider this question, let us imagine ourselves being asked this, and look at our possible responses.
The first response comes from a dualistic way of thinking: we may ask that we and those we love do not suffer, or that we are happy rather than sad, that we may be successful rather than unsuccessful, kind rather than unkind, encouraged and encouraging rather than discouraged and condemnatory. It is natural for us to wish these things.
But the blind man replied with a fantastic statement. He said: ‘Let me see again.’ It is a simple statement borne from his primary ailment, but more far-reaching when we understand the language of the Gospels. When we see Jesus healing someone, it is not the physical healing that is important but the spiritual one. The physical healing is simply a sign of the power of God. So, when we Christians read the man’s answer, we understand it in a more profound way than it could have sounded at the time. We are thinking here of spiritual healing.
We are asking to see, for the scales to fall from our eyes. But exactly what are we asking to see? Are we, like the blind man, simply asking for the mechanism of our eyes to work in a way that they did not before, or are we asking for a spiritual awakening, that we may see the Lord our God and follow him?
We learn, through the Gospels and the wider collection of writing that we call the Bible, that God is in all things, that he can be found and loved and worshipped far beyond our dualistic understanding of good and bad. He is in the good parts of our life, in the positive elements, our successes and our joys. But he is also in the storm, in the failures and the negative elements of our life. Our aim is not to have more positive and less negative elements, but to find God through all of it, despite peace or adversity, sun or storm.
We may think that the man who was healed never again felt sadness or pain, but this cannot be. He was human. He would have still endured hardship and difficulty after he got his sight back. But, with the gift of faith, he would have had better ability to life a better life despite what the circumstances were. After all, it was the faith of this man which saved him.
It is the same for us. We ask only to see. And, in so asking, we do not at this stage fully understand the answer. To ask for sight from God is to ask for faith, for humility, for the ability to live in the moment according to the Gospel message. When we truly ask to see, then we are asking for the grace to have God as our refuge throughout everything we face.
And so, we ask for the grace to see, for the gift of faith, that God may strengthen us throughout each day even if we cannot see the road ahead, because by his light we are saved. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
And with your spirit
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 10:46-52
Glory to you, O Lord.
As Jesus left Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (that is, the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and to say, ‘Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.’ And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, ‘Son of David, have pity on me.‘
Jesus stopped and said,
‘Call him here.‘
So they called the blind man. ‘Courage,’ they said ‘get up; he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus.
Then Jesus spoke,
‘What do you want me to do for you?‘
‘Rabbuni,‘ the blind man said to him ‘Master, let me see again.‘
Jesus said to him,
‘Go; your faith has saved you.’
And immediately his sight returned and he followed him along the road.
The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.