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Jesus Heals His Disciples’ Blindness
Guide: “I Want to See”
We come to the point in Jesus’ life where his choice becomes clear. He will go to Jerusalem. He will embrace his mission. In the first Gospel to be written, Mark paints a powerful portrait of that journey. It begins as far north as Jesus travels and proceeds south to Jerusalem. It begins with a dramatic symbolic miracle. Jesus heals the blindness of a man but not instantaneously. At first the fellow begins to see, but his vision is distorted. When Jesus touches the man’s eyes a second time and heals him and then asks his disciples about their vision of who he is, we understand that this journey is about opening their eyes to see who he really is and what their mission is in following him.
Along the way, Jesus predicts what will happen to him in Jerusalem three times. Three times, they misunderstand it. And three times he tells them what it means to be his disciple. Finally, as they approach the outskirts of Jerusalem, Jesus encounters another blind man and “right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus” (Mark 10:52). With this journey, this week, our sight is clarified about who Jesus is and how we can go with him to Jerusalem.
After Jesus first tells them what is to come, Peter doesn’t see rejection and death in Jerusalem as the mission of Jesus. Jesus tells him he sees like everybody else, not as God sees. Jesus says that if we want to be his disciples, we have to surrender any self-absorption and take up our cross with him. Any desperate attempt to avoid giving our lives away is deadly. But placing our lives in God’s hands is life giving. Is our journey on a path to “gain the whole world” and destroy ourselves in the process? Or is it a journey that is free, self-giving, and alive?
After Jesus tells them the second time what they can foresee in Jerusalem, he finds that they are arguing about which of them is the greatest — a very common thing for all of us to do. Jesus tells them that greatness is about being a servant. It is about embracing the littlest ones around us — the marginal, the defenseless, the poor. Is this the greatness I seek? What little ones do I embrace? This far down the road, is my vision becoming clearer?
As a good teacher, Jesus tells them what to look for in Jerusalem. This time their vision is still blurred by their desire for the glory that they anticipate in Jerusalem. They are caught up in competition and jealousy. Jesus tells them that their role as servants rules out that kind of behavior. With whom do I compete? How could I be at their service? When Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” can I respond, “Master, I want to see!”? What happens inside of me when, at this point in my retreat’s journey, Jesus says, “Your eyes are healed because of your faith”?
Use the resources this week, particularly the Gospel texts suggested as readings. “For the Journey” offers an in-depth reflection on the week. “In These or Similar Words . . .” offers us words that can help us find our own words to speak with our Lord this week. Consider going to the online Web page of this retreat and sharing the graces you receive. Our desire is to follow him down the road ahead. We know it will involve carrying our cross, but we now see more clearly that we are with him, as servants of his own mission.
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