6th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jas 1:19-27
Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger for anger does not accomplish the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filth and evil excess and humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts; such a one shall be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
Gospel: Mk 8:22-26
When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, “Do you see anything?” Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”
“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me” (Jn 10:14): Jesus will never despise a person who requests for his help. His love is profound and he has an insatiable desire to help. In his help today, the curing of the blind man is a gradual process. Jesus may have different reasons for this. First of all, Jesus wanted to free the blind man from the embarrassment of all, focusing on many objects. Secondly, it was a lesson for the disciples, and it is for us today, that in the spiritual field everything is not revealed at once. Our understanding and acceptance of truth and growth in spirituality is necessarily a process. How often do we hear complaints from the recipients of the missionary service, saying that things are being imposed on them? Often, we ignore, the ground reality of the missionaries, their capacity to grasp, adopt and adapt into the new environment.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me never to impose my ideas on others, but rather proclaim your Good News as you did.
WITH HIM IT IS ETERNAL CELEBRATION: Once a master asked his two disciples, “When can you say that it is already day?” “When you can see the trees clearly in the valley in the morning light”, one said. “When it is bright enough and I can tell a wild goat from a cow in my courtyard” said the second. The master said “No!” to the two responses. “It is when you are able to see the stranger in front of you and can count him as your brother, then and only then can you actually claim that the day has dawned for you.” At a time when digital technology has revolutionized learning and e-learning modules made learning a lot easier, truth is not what is guaranteed by technology. More than ever before, we need the Lord to hold each of us by the hand. His blessing and touch is the only one that can open our eyes to the truth. May we always look forward to being educated by God. Let us allow Him to illumine our lives.
FRIENDS ARE GEMS: The healing of the blind man near Bethsaida is the only recorded miracle performed by Jesus where the healing was initially incomplete. This man needed a second touch to experience a full restoration of sight. There is some additional information about the setting of the miracle in the gospel of Mathew (Mt11: 20-22) where Bethsaida and Chorazin are rebuked for their unwillingness to embrace the ministry of Christ. Perhaps, the wickedness that dominated the area appears to be a contributing factor for the miracle taking place outside the city. The gospel says the blind man’s friends brought him to Jesus. In a similar healing of a crippled man who also had friends who tore open a roof and lowered their friend to Jesus, this story describes a small group that was concerned for their friend. Good friends lead us towards God (Ecc. 4:9-10). Jesus described His followers as friends too. Do you have friends who push you closer to Christ?