Today’s Gospel, from Mt 9:27-31, tells the story of two blind men calling upon Jesus for mercy as he passes by them. In first century Palestine, blindness is seen as a curse of God upon the people inflicted with it since one’s sight is directly connected to one’s heart, i.e. I must be able to see God in order to love Him. And yet, as we hear it throughout the Gospels, the people who were blind, deaf, mute, and lame are the people who exhibited the most profound faith in Jesus. In this particular case, these two blind men seem to have exhibited great faith. They did not ask Jesus if it is possible for him to restore their sights. Instead, they cried out with the conviction of sinners who know they can be saved if only the Lord speaks the word, “Son of David, have pity on us!”
These men have been freed to love through their blindness. In the same way, our sins and faults allow us to love properly. In other words, for the Christian, the sinner is freed when he recognizes his own fault or failure so that he can proceed to learn and love as he would have himself loved. This is the reason that the “gold rule” is so popular, for it asks that we bring judgment upon ourselves before we bring judgment upon others. In this sense, the love that is freed is the love which proceeds in faith and hope. It is the love that reminds us (sinners) that the Mercy of God demands that we give mercy when asked of us and to place hope in others that they will turn from their wrongs. When we love in faith, we are able to “see.” This seeing is the recognition of the Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of God intrinsically present within others, a piece of knowledge written into our hearts but, because of our sins, we have neglected to do so. Thus, it is in love seeing that we, the sinners, see Love.
This kind of love, one that proceeds from faith, allows us to move beyond the selfish desire for love of ourselves by admiring our own accomplishments and well-doings in order to move towards the recognition of our own sins and faults. This is the kind of love that only embraces and never judges for it has brought judgment upon itself in order that it to love in the first place. Thus, the good and meaningful Christian life is not consisted in self love, but love for neighbor and God. For the Christian, the meaning of life lies in loving the Truth and following that Love with faith.
Happy Advent and Friday, my friends