The blind beggar, from the Gospel of Luke, is sitting, waiting, by the side of the road. He hears the hustle and bustle of a crowd. Though blind, he feels the presence of divinity, and asks what it means. He hears that Jesus of Nazareth, the hope of his salvation, is present here and now. So, he cries out begging from the depths of his being. He begs not for money, nor luxury, nor honors, but crying out, he begs for the Lord’s mercy. The blind man cries: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me. The name Jesus means God saves. The title Son of David, refers to the long-awaited Messiah, the Christ, the king of Israel that would deliver His people from oppression. The petition, have mercy on me, is a call for pity, for healing, for transformation.
What faith this blind man has! He knows who Jesus is; he knows what Jesus can do; and he believes in Jesus’s power to completely and utterly change his life from blindness, from begging on the side of the road, to something new, something whole and healthy. If only we could see our own desperate situation: blind, begging, in need of spiritual healing and salvation. If only we had faith in this way, we too would cry out from the depths of our being, “Lord, have mercy on me.” Where would the faith of this blind man lead us?
Notice the members of the crowd. For whatever reason: inconvenience, annoyance, or selfishness; they try to silence the blind man’s cry for mercy, for healing, for salvation. The man knows he’s blind, he knows he’s a beggar, and he believes that the only means to his salvation is present right here and now. The blind man may not have another chance to receive his sight, and so he cries out all the more. He refuses to be silenced by the crowd.
Will we refuse to be silenced by the distractions of daily life? By our own lack of faith and spiritual laziness? By a “nothing matters attitude,” a culture of nihilism that says don’t bother praying, God doesn’t hear you, there is no hope for you, it doesn’t matter? Instead, let us be bold. Let us refuse to stop our prayer; let us refuse to give up hope for spiritual health; let us refuse to assume we can’t be made into a new creation: men and women and children of love and peace and joy. Where would the faith of this blind man lead us?
When Jesus hears the cry of the blind man, He commands that the man be brought to Him. Jesus asks the blind man, “what do you want me to do for you?” Jesus will not heal the blind man against his will. Nor will He heal our spiritual blindness against our will. He desires for us to recognize our need, to make our petitions known to him, to approach Him with faith: faith in Him as Lord and God and the salvation that He offers. Jesus heals the blind man and tells the blind man that it was his faith that made him well.
Imagine a very large window on the south wall of the largest room in a house, with high ceilings. The faith of the blind man and his heart are wide and open to God’s presence and power. The blind man’s faith and heart were like this large room with the large window. But his blindness was like a curtain pulled over the window, preventing the light of the sun from filling his mind, his interior life, with light. When the Lord healed the blind man, the curtain was pulled and the light of Christ filled his house, his body, his life. He was no longer blind but could see everything as it truly is. Everything was made clear, its beauty and value revealed.
Likewise, when our spiritual blindness is healed, the light of Christ shines within our heart. We can see the world and our thoughts for what they are; we know the commandments; we know how and when to love God and love our neighbor. Sometimes, we wonder why God doesn’t work wonders and miracles in our lives: our lack of faith is like a small window in a small room with the curtain pulled, dark, isolated, and turned in on itself. Where would the faith of this blind man lead us?
Can we recognize our own spiritual blindness? Maybe we can see it in others more easily than within ourselves. Do we always see the importance and beauty of the commandments of Christ and His Church? Or ever fail to see the value and dignity of our family members, co-workers, customers, patients, even those who rub us the wrong way? If we are spiritually blind, can we recognize our desperate, dark and isolated situation, our begging by the side of the spiritual road, waiting for Lord’s mercy?
After the Lord heals the blind man, the blind man follows Jesus, glorifies God and causes the crowd around him to praise the Lord. If we can have the faith of this blind man, crying without ceasing for mercy, hoping in Jesus Christ with faith, and refusing to be silenced by the crowds, then we will be healed from our spiritual blindness. Healed from spiritual blindness, we will be free to follow Christ, to glorify God with our good works, love, prayer, and an abundance of good and loving thoughts. We will cause all who look on our life to praise the Lord. This is where our faith will lead us.