Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (8: 22-26) in which Jesus helps the blind man at Bethsaida see clearly.Fr Paul says the positioning in the Gospel of this restoration of a man’s sight is really symbolic: it is placed immediately before Peter is granted the clarity to see who Jesus is. The order of events in the Gospel is not necessarily the order in which they occurred, for Mark gathers incidents together for his own purpose of teaching. The process described may also be symbolic, for the grant of sight, as we hear in the Gospel, occurs in two stages: the man sees first indistinctly and then clearly. Just so, Peter will declare his faith in Jesus as Messiah, but he still does not understand what this means. The cure of another blind man, Bartimaeus of Jericho, will be needed before the full meaning of what it is to be Messiah is revealed in the Passion and Resurrection. This cure is the only one in the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Luke and Mark where Jesus uses physical means. He does the same sort of thing for the blind man in John 9.6. This is a precious detail: Jesus was fully human, and this sort of physical contact was valuable in showing the bodily importance of Jesus’ humanity. Fr Paul asks us to think on today’s Gospel Lesson – How clearly do I see Jesus?
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