In today’s Gospel from Mark, Jesus healed a blind man. Like the healing of the deaf man (cf. Mk 7:31-37), Jesus again used his own saliva in the healing process showing the intimacy and closeness of each encounter. The difference this time is that this man does not receive a full and complete healing the first time. Jesus laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly (Mk 8:25).
Often with Jesus, there are instant healings, as well as healing without touch. What might be happening here? Maybe it is because Jesus meets each person where they are at. He invites us into the process of healing and each person has a different response, even to the point of saying no to the invitation to heal. Remember how Jesus was only able to heal a few people while in his own home town of Nazareth?
We are also invited to read the Bible as a whole and these two miraculous healings of the deaf and blind men more deeply than just the literal physical healings. Each of us suffers from both spiritual deafness and blindness to some degree. We come to hear and see God’s will for us gradually. As I shared a few days ago if we knew God’s intention for us early on, we might be crushed with the weight of our own doubt! If someone had told me when I was in high school that I would be a teacher or that I would preach to a whole church assembly in English and in Spanish, I would have quietly retreated to the stand of white birch trees across from the old oak tree in the field behind my parent’s house until that idea passed.
Yet, Jesus met me on my level. Sometime around my junior year of high school, he invited me through an interim pastor to teach Sunday school to a class of three. About a year later I gave a children’s sermon to the youth and the small congregation. The summer after my freshman year of college, I began to work second shift as a certified nurse’s aide and during my sophomore year of college, after following the urge to take a search in education course, I switched my major from psychology to elementary education. After graduation, my first teaching position was not in the four walls of a classroom, but the six hundred eighty acre sanctuary of the Sharon Audubon Center as an environmental education specialist.
I began to interact with people, Jesus drew me out of my own self-centered posture, and I began to grow and mature. I would eventually enter the classroom when we moved to Florida in 1997 to teach, first in public school and then through JoAnn’s guidance, I applied for a substitute position at Rosarian Academy in WPB. I not only got the position but would also spend the next eight years teaching middle school religion, then entering the formation program to become ordained a deacon, and for the past eight years teaching at Cardinal Newman HS.
Each of these experiences of saying yes to Jesus was my willingness to trust his lead and to be coaxed out of my shell. Certainly, with the loss of JoAnn, I have been challenged again these past two years and five months, and yet, Jesus has continued to lead me as he has consistently done. I trust that he will do the same for each of you. We just need to have our eyes and ears open for his healing touch and his gentle guidance. He is not done with any of us yet! Stay tuned…
Photo: Returning to Rosarian Academy to share the commencement address a few years ago.