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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Wednesday of the Sixth 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.
Responsorial Psalm: 14
R/. Who shall live on your holy mountain, o Lord?
He who walks blamelessly and does justice; who thinks the truth in his heart and slanders not with his tongue.

Who harms not his fellow man, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor; by whom the reprobate is despised, while he honors those who fear the Lord.

Who lends not his money at usury and accepts no bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be disturbed.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Eph 1:17-18): Alleluia. May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to his call. Alleluia.
Gospel text (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.”

“His sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly”

Fr. Joaquim MESEGUER García (Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, with another miracle, Jesus shows us the process of faith. Curing the blind in two stages tells us that faith is not always an instantaneous light that falls upon us, but rather a certain itinerary that take us to the light and allows us to see clearly. Yet, the first step of faith—to begin seeing God's light— is already a reason for joy. Saint Augustine says: “Once the eyes have been cured, what else can we, o brothers, have more valuable? Let those who can see that light enjoy it, whether it flares in the sky or comes from a torch. And how unhappy should they feel those who cannot see it!”

Arriving to Bethsaida Jesus is asked to touch a blind man who is brought to him. It is significant that Jesus takes him outside the village; is that not an indication that to listen to the word of God, to discover the faith and see the reality of Christ, we have to get out of ourselves, out of the noisy spaces and times that asphyxiate and blind us, to receive the authentic enlightenment?

Once outside the village, Jesus “Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, ‘Do you see anything?’” (Mk 8:23). That gesture reminds us of the Baptism: Jesus does not put any more spittle on our eyes but He completely bathes our being in the water of salvation and, all along our life, He questions us about what we see in the light of faith. “Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly” (Mk 8:25); this second time remind us of the Sacrament of Confirmation, when we are given the plenitude of the Holy Spirit to reach the maturity of faith and see clearer. To be baptized, but neglect the Confirmation, allows us to see, indeed, but only half way.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “God proposes the mysteries of faith to our souls amidst obscurities and darkness. But the act of faith consists in this very acquiescence of our spirit, which has received the grateful light of truth” (Saint Francis de Sales)

  • “Let us allow ourselves to be healed by Jesus, who can and wants to give us God's light. Let us confess our blindness, our shortsightedness, and especially what the Bible calls the ‘great transgression’: pride.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them. In his name the apostles will do the same. Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given (…).” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 699)