Wednesday of Week 6 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

Commentary on Mark 8:22-26

We are approaching a high point in Mark’s gospel.  And it is preceded by today’s strategically placed story.  At first glance it looks like a simple healing story of a blind man but, as in most of Mark’s miracles, there is a deep symbolic meaning inside.

People bring a blind man to Jesus so that Jesus could apply his healing touch (how much of our touching is healing –  or are we afraid of physical touch?).  Jesus takes the man aside away from the crowds.  He puts spittle on the man’s eyes and asks, “Can you see anything?”  The man, who is beginning now to see, says he can see people, but they are like trees and walking about.  Jesus lays his hands on the man’s eyes again and now he can see clearly. “He could see everything plainly and distinctly.”  Jesus tells him to go directly home, not through the village. He wants no misplaced sensationalism about who he is.  The truth of that is going to be revealed very soon.

The story is clearly linked with other events that have just been taking place. We have seen the blindness of the Pharisees unable to recognise the power of God in the words and works of Jesus.  We can see the blindness of his own disciples when he asked them in the boat: “Can you not see?  Can you not hear?  Do you not understand?”

This story, coming where it is, is a parable about the gradual opening of the disciples’ eyes as it begins to dawn on them just who Jesus is. We will see in tomorrow’s gospel a giant step in their seeing and understanding, while at the same time being aware that they still have a long way to go.

Our understanding of Jesus is also a gradual process and it never ends. Many seem to settle into a complacent level of understanding beyond which they never go.  As a result, their spiritual growth is blocked, and also their ability to have a growing faith enrich their lives.

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