Friday of the First Week of Advent
Isaiah 29: 17-24
Matthew 9: 27-31
Eye care professionals most commonly correct bad eyesight, like myopia or hyperopia, through the use of corrective lenses, such as glasses or contact lenses. Sometimes surgery is suggested. Metaphorically, the first condition, called shortsightedness, describes a person who makes shortsighted decisions by focusing on the immediate. The second condition is called farsightedness and refers to decisions that may be visionary but sacrifices short term consequences.
Both readings today speak about seeing. In the first reading from the Book of Isaiah, the prophet attempts to give sight to his people. The Israelites are surrounded by experiences of exile, loss, disrespect, rootlessness. They are homeless and hopeless. They began to concentrate so completely on the darkness that they failed to see any blessings; they gazed on the dirt of life and failed to see the divine in life; they were so limited to that which was immediately seen, they forgot that unseen opportunities exist. Isaiah paints a picture of possibilities so that his fellow citizens can move beyond their nearsightedness. "And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see." If they have the faith of Abraham, their eyes will be opened and they will perceive new possibilities.
In the Gospel reading Jesus heals two blind men who asked Jesus to have pity on them. He touched their eyes and their eyes were opened. This miracle is not just the restoration of their physical sight. They have gained in-sight. They can really see! They can see who Jesus really is, God’s presence among us. Their experience with Jesus is not something that they can keep to themselves; they have to share that experience with everyone else, even though Jesus asked them not to talk about it with others.
As disciples of Christ we need to be able to see possibilities beyond the immediate frustrations and disappointments. We need to see Emmanuel, God with us, even in the midst of the darkness and the messiness of life. If we are to celebrate Christmas properly, we need to learn to see deeply into life and discern how Jesus is present (born) in new ways today.
Fr. Don Webber, C.P., is Provincial Superior of Holy Cross Province and resides in Chicago.