1 Pt 2:2-5, 9-12 / Mk 10:46-52
For about 1500 years, from the time of Moses down to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, Jewish worship centered on sacrifices in their temple. There was a special sacrifice for every circumstance and each one was grounded in a key insight into human nature.
For example, every morning began with the holocaust sacrifice. An unblemished lamb and a loaf of the finest bread were burned on the altar, and a cup of choice wine was poured into the ground. Symbolically, the people were giving back to God the essentials they needed to live. In effect they were saying, “We know it all comes from you, Lord, and we’re very grateful.” How wise they were!
They had other sacrifices as well. Sacrifices of praise and of thanksgiving. Sacrifices for sins and for peace. Each one had its own prescribed ritual and special meaning, but probably the most interesting of all was the sacrifice for unknown sins.
This was more than just a bit of insurance in case a person had skipped the fine print and ended up breaking some obscure rule he knew nothing about. The sacrifice for unknown sins came from something the wise old rabbis had learned about human nature, and that is, sometimes we’re all spiritually blind.
Sometimes we just don’t see ourselves clearly or accurately. Sometimes we don’t see what we’re doing to others, what effect we’re having on them. Sometimes we don’t see the big patterns in our lives, though everyone else sees them. And sometimes we don’t see the not-so-lovely ideas that are shaping our lives at the core. Sometimes our blindness lasts just a little while, and sometimes a whole lifetime. But always inner blindness is a hazard for every one of us. It can strike any one of us at a moment’s notice! Now why is that so? Why do good people like us fail to see so much?
I think there are probably two reasons: First of all, very few of us were ever taught to ask carefully at every turn of the road, “What am I really doing, and why am I doing it?” We just weren’t taught to look methodically for the truth about ourselves. And so, unseeing, we live a lot on the outside of things.
Secondly, even those who were taught discover that quite often, as we begin to see, fear intervenes, and turns out the lights. Fear of the ugliness we may see. Fear of what we may have to change if we let ourselves see. Fear that whatever is wrong will be too much for us. Fear there’s nothing of value within us. And, so out of fear, often we live unseeing on the outside of things.
Our fears would be entirely justifiable if we were walking this road alone. But we are not alone. The Lord himself is at our side with his hand outstretched to steady and encourage and strengthen us. We have no cause to fear now, and no reason to close our eyes any more, for there is nothing that we and the Lord cannot face together.
And so it is time for us to cry out with that blind man in the Gospel, “Lord, I want to see. Lord, I am ready to see whatever there is to see, because now I know for sure that I’m not alone!”