Open our eyes that we might see
By Fr Gabriel Julien
Today as we begin the third week of Advent the gospel according to Matthew 11:5 states that the blind receive sight. Sacred Scripture often uses the imagery of blindness to describe the spiritual condition of persons who are either unable or unwilling to perceive divine revelation.
Thus, Matthew 11:25–27 clearly states that the things of God are perceived not by mere observation and inquiry, but by revelation and illumination since it is the Lord who “gives sight to the blind” (Ps 146:8, Isa 42:16).
In the Old Testament, blindness was often described as a most devastating condition, especially when compared to other physical disabilities. Pertaining to ritual ceremonies, it was a blemish which automatically disqualifies a priest from performing religious functions. It was also regarded as weakness and imperfection. Metaphorically, blindness could represent a lack of mental or spiritual insight.
Hence Jesus frequently made the comparison between those who were physically blind and those spiritually blind.
He also speaks about the “blind leading the blind” to indicate that Christians were not to act in a way that would lead non-believers astray.
It was not unusual that some of the strongest outbursts of Jesus were directed at the Pharisees, who often masqueraded their superficial conformity to Jewish ceremonial laws as the absolute. Jesus often regarded them as “blind guides of the blind” (Matt 15:14).
Hence, He announced that He will impose judgement on these self-righteous legalists, “so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind” (Jn 9:39).
Following this same trend of thought, Paul tells the Corinthian believers that blindness aptly describes the spiritual state of pagan unbelievers. He further points out that this blindness is inflicted by the “god of this age who has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (Cor 4:4).
The foregone shows clearly that as Catholics we are also subject to spiritual blindness. Spiritual blindness refers in some instances to the inability of unbelievers to comprehend spiritual truth and recognise Jesus as the Messiah. Since we are not exempt from spiritual blindness it is important for us to constantly listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Lord I am blind, the road I cannot find, help me to know the way. Lord, because of our numerous sins and offences, we admit that we are ‘blind’, and we are unable to see you. Today You performed a great and outstanding miracle: sight is restored to the blind. We come before You today seeking healing, seeking the restoration of our sight. Give us that sight so we would always see and appreciate You as our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
The gospel meditations for December are by Fr Gabriel Julien, a diocesan priest.