Friday, December 4, 2009

Son Of David, Have Pity On Us!

Friday of the First Week of Advent

First Reading          Isaiah 29:17-24

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.


Responsorial          Psalm 27

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?

One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek: To dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;
be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.


Gospel                    Matthew 9:27-31

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.

+++ +++ +++ +++

“Seeing is believing,” we say; in other words, we believe something because we can see it. But Hilary of Poitiers (c. 315-367) said, “The blind men did not believe because they saw; they saw because they believed.”

We worship sight. Sight is detachment, observation, verification; and the English language has an absurd bias in its favor: we even go so far as to say, "I see what you’re saying!" But we are not alone, nor were we the first to have this bias. “Sight is our principal source of knowledge,” said Aristotle, almost two and a half thousand years ago, long before English existed. And western culture has followed him particularly in this; it has a marked preference for sight over the other senses. St Augustine in the 5th century could play language to the full, using all five senses, like a vast instrument with multiple keyboards and innumerable stops; but we tend to play it with one or two fingers, narrowing everything down to what we can see.

Try it the other way around: believing is seeing. We know very well that there are crazy people who imagine they can see all sorts of things, but that doesn't discredit all belief – any more than sickness discredits health. There is a sound sense in which I can see certain things only if I believe in them. Leave scientific matters aside: it is there that independent verification comes into its own; and no one wants to belittle that. But when it comes to matters of the spirit – or even subtle psychological states, and personal relationships – it is true that I see nothing until I have in some sense committed myself. “According to your faith let it be done to you,” Jesus said to the blind men. Then they saw – because they believed.

Donagh O’Shea O.P.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Along similar lines, it is surprising how all manner of things "look" different to me following my conversion. In fact, I am still learning to see.