February 14th, 2007
Tom Bannantine, S.J.
School of Nursing
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At first glance there does not seem to be a connection between
the first and second scripture readings for today. The story of
Noah and the flood does not seem to have anything to do with Jesus'
cure of the blind man. But as I read over the readings and prayed
about what they said I began to see a connection between them. That
connection has to do with the sense of sight.
In the first scripture reading Noah has waited out the 40 days of
the flood that covered the earth. He now wants to know whether the
waters are receding and whether it is safe to leave the ark. But
Noah and his family and the animals are shut up in the ark with
no way to see out. Their vision has been restricted to the inside
of the ark for those 40 days. The rest of the earth is hidden under
water. They dare not open the covering of the ark lest the waters
rush in and drown them. So Noah cleverly sends the raven and the
dove from the escape hatch to find out whether the waters have receded.
Only after 14 more days does the failure of the dove to return indicate
to Noah that there is now some dry land. Noah and his family are
able to remove the covering from the ark and to look at and walk
upon dry land once again. They can once again see and appreciate
the beauty of the earth.
In the second scripture reading we learn about the man who has no
vision at all, but wants to see. He seeks out Jesus and receives
the miraculous recovery of his sight.
Noah's first act upon regaining dry land is to give thanks to God
for his delivery from the flood. He is so thankful that he takes
and slaughters some of the birds and animals that he brought with
him and offers them as a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.
The reaction of the blind man to his cure by Jesus is not recorded
by St. Mark. But we can certainly imagine his joy and his gratitude
to Jesus. And in telling others of his cure he would show his gratitude
by spreading the word about Jesus and his salvivfic work here on
earth. He would thank Jesus by listening to and believing in him.
The gift of our sense of sight is a very precious gift that most
of us receive when we are created. The blind man who had been deprived
of his sense of sight earnestly seeks to have it restored, and is
very happy when Jesus does restore it to him. The sense of sight
is very dear to Noah and his family. After two months of seeing
only each other and the animals, they are very happy to once again
look upon the earth in all its beauty.
It seems to me that in these readings God is teaching us to appreciate
our sense of sight. Sight enables us to appreciate the grandeur
of God's creation and the beauty of our world. Our sight also helps
us to see the good in each other. Most of us are born with the sense
of sight, a precious gift from God. And yet, it is easy to take
sight for granted and to fail to really appreciate it. It is easy
to be so caught up in our own affairs that we don't take the time
to really look and see the beauty around us. Noah and his family
rejoiced to see the beauty around them when the flood was over.
The blind man rejoiced to see all the beauty that he had been unable
to see when he was blind. Perhaps the stories of Noah and the blind
man can help us to better see and rejoice in the beauty of the earth
around us. Perhaps their stories and their example can help us to
better appreciate our sense of sight and to give thanks to God for
this great gift.
to the writer of this reflection.
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