“Son of David, have pity on us!” This was the cry of the two blind men in today’s Gospel. This must be the cry of our own hearts. A cry for vision…a cry for mercy. These men lived the entirety of their lives in darkness and never saw the beauty of creation. Even more, they never beheld the beauty of the Creator as He is revealed in creation. Then with this cry for help and the response of faith, they beheld the face of Jesus, through whom all things were created. The first thing they saw was the face of Jesus—the face of the Father’s mercy.
We can all find ourselves in the place of these blind men, because we are all in need of the Father’s mercy—we are all called to contemplate the face of Christ. They especially represent those of us who are caught up in habitual sin, those of us who are coming to realize that we can do nothing without Jesus. In today’s culture there are so many things that keep us from seeing the beauty of creation. We can spend more time looking at screens than we do at people. When we feel bored we often turn to our smartphone before turning to a friend. That smartphone can then lead us down a dangerous path toward the impurity that so often impeded our vision.
In the beatitudes Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” These are not simply nice words, nor a pious platitude. They speak the truth. The transition from blindness to the vision of Christ’s face in today’s gospel also points to the conversion we are all called to. A conversion from the blindness of impurity of heart to the purity of heart that allows us to see God—to contemplate the face of Jesus. When this happened in the Gospel, the two men upon gaining their sight “spread word of Him to all the land.” They could not help but to pass on the message of the mercy they had received. The same dynamic happens when we truly become pure of heart. One college student once told me, “Father, after three months of not viewing porn everything seems more beautiful.” Another man said, “Father, how do I explain to someone what ‘red’ looks like if they have never seen the color red before.” In other words, “How can I explain this new vision I have received?” This is the conversion called for in our times. It is the healing that Jesus wants to bestow on the world.
How do we open ourselves to this new vision? Just as the men in today’s Gospel, we have to cry out for it. We have to ask the Lord for his mercy, then believe that He can do this for us. When Jesus asks, “do you believe that I can do this?” He is asking us to trust in Him. To put aside all distractions so that we can focus on his voice, and then behold his face. Part of putting aside distractions may be to use accountability and filtering software like Covenant Eyes on all devices, so that the screens we use do not impede our vision, and turn to our Lord’s love, our Lord’s consolation, our Lord’s mercy. Let us pray that our own eyes may be opened to behold the face of Christ now and forever in the life to come.
Fr. Sean Kilcawley, or the Diocese of Lincoln, is the Theological Advisor for Integrity Restored.