Jesus miraculously heals a blind man in Bethsaida. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by growing in the Virtue of Faith so he can have unshakeable faith in the Jesus the Divine Physician and by seeking the Gift of Understanding from the Holy Spirit so he can grow in understanding and awe of Christ’s True Body.
6th Week in Ordinary Time – Wednesday – Mk 8:22-26
After Jesus’ rebuke of the Apostles for their failure to think deeply about His many miracles and teaching, they arrive at Bethsaida (the home of Peter, Andrew and Phillip) after crossing the Sea of Galilee. People bring a blind man to Jesus and beg Him to touch the blind man, having the astounding belief Jesus has the miraculous power to give sight to the blind.
Jesus’ healing of the blind man at Bethsaida is unique in all the Gospel accounts, for Jesus heals the man in two stages; all other miracles are immediate and complete. Taking the blind man by the hand and leading him out of the village, Jesus puts the man at ease as He recently did with the deaf man (Mk 7:33). After putting spittle in the blind man’s eyes (in those days, saliva was thought to have healing powers), and laying His hands upon him, the man’s sight is partially restored, allowing him to see figures but he is not yet able to see clearly; he can identify trees and men, suggesting he was not born blind.
In the second stage of healing, Jesus completes the miracle by again putting His hands on the man’s eyes, giving him clear vision; the former blind man “looks intently”, and sees “everything clearly.” Jesus’ decision to restore the blind man’s sight in two stages is mysterious: perhaps it allows the man to adjust to the miracle; perhaps the man’s faith needed to increase to completely accept the fullness of healing. Jesus commands the man to go directly to his home and avoid the village, allowing the man to quietly enjoy his eyesight and to reflect upon his miraculous encounter with God.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by Jesus, the Divine Priest, who is the perfection of Empathy and Prudence, as He heals the blind man gradually: Jesus anticipates the emotional shock the blind man would experience of suddenly being able to see and the physical shock to his eyes due to the brightness of the sun; He gradually heals the blind man with supernatural Power, gently taking him by the hand, anointing his eyes with His saliva, a prefigurement of the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, asking the man a question and finally laying His hands on the man again to complete the miraculous healing.
Have faith in the Divine Physician
Realize: While men can become impatient and angry when Jesus does not provide immediate and complete healing, Jesus perfectly responds to His men’s petitions for healing in His own mysterious ways (e.g. healing in stages).
Believe: Reflect upon the Divine Physician (CCC 1481, 1484, 1503-1510, 1848) .
Pray: Jesus, Divine Physician, help me build the Virtue of Faith so I believe in Your power and wisdom to heal, and I faithfully pray for those who need Your healing; Lord, guide me to receive or bring someone in need to Your Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.
Grow in understanding and awe of Christ’s True Body
Realize: In the Incarnation (“to be made flesh”), Jesus took on, and fully experienced, a human body, which He sometimes used to physically touch those He wished to heal: He puts His hands on the sick, puts His fingers in ears, touches eyes and uses spittle for healing.
Believe: Reflect upon the Incarnation and Christ’s True Body (CCC 461-463; 476-477).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Understanding so my faith is strengthened as You guide me to contemplate the mysterious reality that the Word became flesh and walked among us.