Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Luke 18:41
I think that I was in fifth grade when the school principle asked me to take a note to my parents, with the request that they come talk to her. That had never happened to me before, so I was very anxious about doing this. I even considered “losing it somewhere” on my way home.
It turned out that the school wanted to tell my parents that I needed an eye exam, because I was having trouble reading the blackboard. I had no idea that I needed glasses. Getting glasses that early in life was both challenging and life-changing. The first time I came to school with eye glasses, I was teased. I considered not wearing them. But, when I was in the classroom looking at the blackboard or reading a book, it was amazing how much better I could see. I have been wearing glasses ever since.
This beautiful Gospel account is about someone who knows he cannot see and wants to see. Living in a world without the faculty of sight is living in a world of darkness. There are people born blind, and probably know the world outside by only “seeing” it with their other senses: touch, smell or sound. I cannot image what kind of world they live in.
Others lose their sight by accident or disease or some other cause. They know what it means to see and be blind.
When we know that we are blind, whatever the cause, we long to see. We are just like the man in today’s gospel.
While there may be many levels of insight that we can gleam from this Gospel through prayer and meditation, the one that strikes me most today is my experience of not being aware that I cannot see clearly, while thinking that I can. We can be the “seeing” blind and not even be aware of it. We can live our lives seeing everything, but blind to the realities that make life meaningful, beautiful and worth living. We have not yet learned to cry out with full conviction, “Lord, please let me see.” We have not learned to cry out in faith!
When we hear Jesus say to us, “Have sight; your faith has saved you,” we will then be able to see and do what this blind man did: Follow Jesus. And for the Evangelist Luke, following Jesus means taking up our cross daily to follow him.
When we follow Jesus, we will see what Jesus sees: the tears of the suffering, the stranger or the refugee or the beggar shouting in the streets, the outcast women rejected by society, the leper, and so much more. It allows us to see injustice and become voice for the voiceless and friend of the downtrodden. It allows us to love unconditionally!
The sight that Jesus offers us changes everything!
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P. is a member of Mater Dolorosa Community in Sierra Madre, California.