Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; Then will the eyes of the blind be opened…
–Isaiah 35:4, 5
The LORD gives sight to the blind…-Psalms 146:8
My brothers and sisters, show no partiality… -James 2:1
He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak. -Mark 7:37
I’ve been thinking about sight a lot lately. I recently had cataract surgery, and it changed the way the world looks to me. For over 50 years I have been dependent on glasses to see at a distance and now, at least in one eye until the next surgery, I can see clearly. I only mention this because, in one way or another, all four of our readings today speak of sight.
Isaiah tells us to be strong and fear not for the eyes of the blind will be opened. In the psalm we are told the Lord will give sight to the blind. These seem to be both direct references to our physical eyes not functioning and then becoming whole. But is it pointing to a deeper meaning?
In the epistle from St. James the apostle speaks of a different way of seeing. He talks about how we see others and judge them. He cautioned us against assigning value or worth to people based on the value and worth of the things they own. In doing so he reminds us that all of God’s children, the poor and rich alike, have sacred worth and value. And it is a danger to our “spiritual eyes” to use only our material eyes to form judgments.
In the gospel Jesus heals a man who is deaf and unable to speak. Although not directly connected to sight, hearing is another way of seeing. The book, “And There Was Light: The Extraordinary Memoir of a Blind Hero” tells the story of Jacques Lusseyran, a French resistance fighter in World War II. It said that he was able to tell the trustworthiness of a person through the sound of their voice.
All of these readings speak of an opening in the way we perceive the world. It is so easy for us to go through our lives only seeing the difficulties and challenges that face us. In Genesis it says that God created the world and saw it was good. While there are definitely situations we need to correct and work on, God calls us to open our eyes to the good that is around us as well. This leads to a feeling of gratitude. And as Meister Eckhart says, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
Today my prayer is that I remember, in the midst of all my running around, to open my eyes and see the good world that God has given to us and to be grateful.
In addition to being an independent teacher (now online!), Talib Huff is on the retreat team at Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center in Citrus Heights, California. You can contact him at [email protected].