Over the last two Sundays, we heard about a rich young man who would not yield control over his wealth to follow Jesus, as well as two disciples who demanded power and prominence in Jesus’ kingdom. Both stories typify the craving for absolute dominion and control and quest for wealth and pleasure that result from the hold that sin maintains over the human condition.
As a matter of fact, sin “causes people to turn in on themselves; to become grasping and exploitative toward possessions and other people; to grow accustomed to conducting relationships not by the standards of generous stewardship but by the calculus of self-interest: ‘What’s in it for me?’” (U.S. Catholic Bishops, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response (2002), 28).
In contrast to the avarice exemplified in these two stories, the blind man in today’s gospel does not ask for any special honor for himself, but only the restoration to wholeness that is part of God’s messianic promise. He sits alone in social isolation as a disabled person and a beggar, and cries out to Jesus as he passes by. The juxtaposition between the two stories of grasping and acquisitive human behavior and the humble request of the blind man for the simple gift of sight demonstrates that it is, in fact, the blind man who actually sees more clearly than the others. When the man threw aside his cloak, he expressed his ardent desire to leave behind his former way of life, just as Christians are called to put off the old nature of sin and put on Christ.
Like the blind man, Christians must constantly “beg God for the grace of conversion: the grace to know who they are, to whom they belong, how they are to live—the grace to repent and change and grow; the grace to become good disciples and stewards” (Id.).
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
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