Carry the Word with you
Friday of the First Week of Advent, Cycle 1
First reading of the day:
Thus says the Lord GOD: But a very little while, and Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard, and the orchard be regarded as a forest! On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book; and out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see. The lowly will ever find joy in the LORD, and the poor rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. For the tyrant will be no more and the arrogant will have gone; all who are alert to do evil will be cut off, those whose mere word condemns a man, who ensnare his defender at the gate, and leave the just man with an empty claim. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham: Now Jacob shall have nothing to be ashamed of, nor shall his face grow pale. When his children see the work of my hands in his midst, they shall keep my name holy; they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob, and be in awe of the God of Israel. Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding, and those who find fault shall receive instruction.
Gospel reading of the day:
As Jesus passed by, two blind men followed him, crying out, “Son of David, have pity on us!” When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, “See that no one knows about this.” But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.
Reflection on the readings: Isaiah affirms in several places that one of the signs of God’s salvation is the blind receiving their sight. Of course, there is the physically miraculous, when natural eyes that cannot see open to look upon the world, but there is also interior blindness. Recovery of moral sight is no less amazing than the recovery of the vision of our eyes. If I can see the suffering of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the ill-clad, the sick, and the prisoner when before I could not, salvation is at hand. When my friend grieves, and my heart breaks for her grief, salvation is near. When I can trudge through the thousand affairs of my daily life and feel neither tired nor morose, salvation is knocking at my door. When in today’s gospel Jesus heals the two blind men, he is not working at the physical level alone. When the men receive sight, they perceive with a clarity and vividness that fills them with courage and decisiveness that only the truest vision of reality can awaken in us. Advent is the good news that salvation has come to our house, and we are truly alive.