Thursday 1 December 2016

Friday, December 2, 2016 - Have you tried seeing with your heart instead of only your eyes? What difference does it make?

To read the texts click on the texts: Isa29: 17-24; Mt 9:27-31

Chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel of Matthew are known as the “Miracle Cycle” of Matthew, because in them we find ten miracles in series of three miracles each. The fact that the Miracle Cycle follows immediately after the Sermon on the Mount and that both are framed by a summary statement in 4:23 and 9:35 is an indication that Matthew’s intention is to show, through such placement, that Jesus is the Messiah, in words (through the Sermon on the Mount) and in deeds (through the Miracle Cycle).

Many regard this story as a doublet of the healing of blind Bartimaeus found in Mk 10:46-52.  Matthew’s story, however, has the healing of two blind men and does not name them. A similar story of the healing of two blind men is found in Mt 20:29-34, and since, in both cases, the one blind man of Mark has become two blind men in Matthew, he pieces the story together with details and elements from his own sources.

The story begins with the blind men following Jesus. While on the one level, this will mean walking behind Jesus, on the deeper level, it means that they are doing what disciples are called to do. Their address for Jesus: “Son of David” (this is the first time in the Gospel that Jesus is called “Son of David”) and “Lord” indicates that they are believers. They have faith. Though physically blind, they are able to see who Jesus is and see the extent of his power to heal them. This faith is the reason why they receive their sight.

The command of Jesus to the blind men not to tell anyone what he had done is disobeyed by them. While some see the command as retention of Marks’ messianic secret (the Markan Jesus tells some of those whom he heals not to make it known, since he does not want people to mistake the kind of Messiah that he has come to be), others see it as an illustration by Matthew that not everyone who says “Lord” obeys the will of the Father manifested in Jesus. These have faith, they themselves say, but yet they do not do.

Blindness is not only an external ailment or limitation. The fox says to the Little Prince in Antoine Saint De Exupery’s book “The Little Prince”: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” There is, thus, also blindness of the heart. As a matter of fact, in many cases, blindness of the heart is worse than blindness of the eyes. Heart blindness closes itself to another point of view. It is a blindness that refuses to look anew at things, events, and people. It prefers the pessimistic and dark side of life.  Heart blindness can only be healed when one turns in faith to God, manifest in his Son, Jesus. 

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