EYE, SIGHT, AND BLINDNESS

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‘The eye is the lamp of the body’ (Mt 6:22). One becomes  blind when this light turns dark for him. But  the Bible tells us about a person who could see even after losing his vision. His name is Bartimaeus. He was sitting by the road going out of  Jericho, expecting  alms from those passing by.  It was then that those who were  going with Jesus – all of them blessed with  clear vision in their eyes- told him that  Jesus  of Nazareth was passing by. Bartimaeus could not  join that crowd, but he  shouted out saying, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me’ (Mk 10:47). When the crowd started rebuking him, he cried out even more loudly. ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’

Why did Bartimaeus regain his sight? In a sense his prayer resembled the prayer of Jesus at Gethsemane, where we see  a Jesus who prayed more earnestly during his hours of anguish (Lk 22:44). When all doors are  closed before us, and   we start asking why God  is not inclined to  listen to our   petitions, our only way out is to pray more earnestly.

When our   physical eyes turn blind our inner eyes get opened. This is why Bartimaeus, who never saw Jesus with his  eyes, identified him  as the Son of David, when all those who saw Jesus with their eyes, called him Jesus from Nazreth. The term ‘Son of David’ tells everything because Israelites knew that it denoted none other than the   Savior whom they were expecting for centuries. Bartimaeus was  one among a lucky few who could identify Jesus as the Lord during  his lifetime.

Jesus was aware of the difference  between what men see with  their  physical  eyes and what they see with their inner eyes when he said; ‘I came into this world  for judgment so that  those who do not see may see, and those  who do see may become blind’ (Jn 9:39). It is  a warning to those who, even after  accepting the gospel, either ignore or fail to  appreciate the divinity in the person of Jesus Christ. A true warning to those who   think they do see, but are actually blind! For them Jesus’ advice is to buy salve from  him  to anoint their  eyes so that they may see’ ( Rev 3:18).

It was  Jesus Christ, the true light which enlightens everyone (Jn 1:9), who revealed the Father   dwelling in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16) to us. The  light that opened the   inner eyes of Bartimaeus was the same light that shines in the darkness (Jn 1:5).  We know that  darkness will never overcome the light of Jesus (Jn 1:5). When that eternal light illuminated the  inner eyes  of a blind man he  realized Jesus as his Savior. His words were an echo of  what Peter would say when confronted with the   question as to the  true  identity of Jesus; ‘But who do you say that I am?’ (Mt 16:15).

Let us pray for the grace to  confess Jesus as  ‘the Messiah, the Son of the living God’ (Mt 16:16). May God open our inner eyes to this eternal truth.

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