That We Might See

0defff05af2f743376fb33a4097ff866The lectionary for seventh Sunday after Pentecost gives us the Gospel account of the healing of two blind men. The duo follow Jesus and cry out to him, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” Upon entering a house these two men approach Jesus.  Jesus says to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They reply, “Yes, Lord.” Then “[Jesus] touched their eyes saying, ‘According to your faith let this be for you.’ “And their eyes were opened” (Mt 9: 27 — 30). For these two men the first object they see is their Healer, their Savior — the One who is God Incarnate. How blessed were those four eyes!

Others of us were born sighted. The first object we laid eyes on (however imperfectly as newborns) was likely the face of our mother, itself also a blessing. As sighted infants and then children we took in the creation around us with frequent awe and wonder. We saw creation through eyes of innocence. As a child I had eyes that took no account of the size of my friends’ houses, the cars their parents drove, and took no care of the occupation of father or mother.

Unfortunately, my eyesight changed. I was instructed in the ways of the world and given “sight” to interpret the world. I, in a sense, lost my sight. Blindness isn’t just physical involving some pathology of the eye. Worse in many ways is spiritual blindness. With this type of blindness there is the refusal to see. There can be a jaded perception, a prejudice. Spiritual blindness can be practiced, or simply of mindless habit.

The New Testament Scriptures offer case studies in spiritual blindness. We have the cohort of the Scribes and Pharisees. We have the woeful account of the the Rich Man (Dives) who refused to see the wretched Lazarus and bring him relief. Only dogs ministered to him (Luke 16: 19 — 31 ). We who are in Christ cannot afford such blindness.

In addition to being a priest, I work as a clinical pharmacist in an anticoagulation and diabetes clinic. I see a wide variety of people. I see young and old — mostly old — educated and uneducated, those in relatively good health, and those pitiably infirm (even disturbingly so). Many of the patients have dogs, and when they learn of my love for dogs they bring their friends to meet me. I am struck by the dog’s desire to be with and near their human without regard to health or frailty, poverty or wealth. The canine set of eyes can only accept with appropriate devotion their human companion. The canine eyes see without prejudice. They too, see with the innocence and acceptance of a child.

Christ’s sight also takes no bias into account. Christ does not judge by outward appearance. Their is no concern of neighborhood, education, or occupation. His vision has no concern for health or frailty, and no concern for beauty or lack of beauty. Christ’s eyes — wide open — enter into the person’s circumstances without prejudice or apprehension to act, to heal and to restore, and to bring his salvation to his intended recipient.

icxcnikaAs the two blind men sought to have their eyes open to see, so we — by equal faith — are to ask to have our spiritual eyes open that we may see as the child sees, and the dog sees, and even better as Christ sees. I and we are to seek such restorative vision to see those around us without prejudice or apprehension. We are to see and provide compassion and relief. We are to see and bring hope where there is none. We are to see and provide friendship and fellowship where there is none. We are to see and smile, see and touch, see and to move and provide as Christ would do to those who occupy his unlimited field of vision. We are to ask, by faith, to see with our Lord’s eyes to see with his light and life and to transform that part of creation which needs the action of such faith-filled vision. We are his eyes, feet, hands and heart. In seeing with the eyes of Christ, in, with, and by Christ, St. Paul reminds us: “Rejoice always. Pray constantly. Give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1Thes 5: 16 — 18).

“Have mercy on us, O Son of David!”

In Christ,

Fr. Irenaeus

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