Friday of the First Week of Advent – Mt 9:27-31
Today’s Gospel recounts the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in the first reading: “And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.” There are three details in the Gospel that call our attention: first, Jesus doesn’t heal the blind men right away. As He is passing by, the blind men call out, and they follow Jesus until He enters the house. At that point, they make their approach, and Jesus speaks to them, but before that, there’s some length of time where Jesus is walking, and they are following. Secondly, even after entering the house, Jesus doesn’t heal the men without first asking them if they believe that He can heal them. When they reply yes, for the first time in the Gospels Jesus touches the eyes of the blind, and they are opened. Thirdly, Jesus warns them not to say anything; the word used here is very strong, and literally means “to snort like an angry horse.”
These three details all emphasize the importance of faith. Jesus doesn’t answer the blind men right away, and yesterday’s Gospel reminded us that it’s not enough simply to cry out for Jesus. Christ is only to be found when we seek Him wholeheartedly, leaving everything behind for Him. As the prophet Jeremiah writes, “When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me” (Jer 29:13-14). The blind men ventured down the path after Jesus, leaving behind the security of what they knew. Are we willing to do the same? Secondly, Jesus asks if the blind believe He can heal them. Implicit in this, too, is their belief that He is willing to heal them. Faith in God’s power does us no good if we don’t believe in His willingness to use it to help us. “Faith embraces the mercy and fatherly love of God along with His power.” Do we believe in both God’s power and His love and mercy? Lastly, there are any number of reasons for Jesus’ command to keep the miracle quiet. Some Fathers suggest it was out of humility (Jerome), others because it wasn’t their task to preach (Hilary), and others because it would’ve been better for them to live as changed men rather than proclaim it with their mouths. In the end, we can’t know for certain what Christ’s motive was, but we do know that it was what was best for those men. Our faith, then, must be rooted in Christ, so as to follow Him in whatever He asks through our superiors, especially when it seems difficult to understand. The fact that Christ asks should be enough.
Today, we can ask ourselves how solid our faith is in Christ, and pray, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Faith, for the grace to wholeheartedly seek Him, to trust in His goodness, and to follow His will, no matter what it is.