After Christ’s sharp rebukes of the Apostles for their failure to think deeply and to understand the implications of Christ’s many miracles and teaching, they arrive at Bethsaida (the home of Peter, Andrew and Phillip) after crossing the Sea of Galilee. People bring a blind man to Christ and beg Him to touch him, believing Christ has the miraculous power to give sight to the blind.

Christ’s healing of the blind man at Bethsaida is unique in all the Gospel accounts, for Christ heals the man in two stages; all other miracles are immediate and complete. Taking the blind man by the hand and leading him out of the village, Christ puts the man at ease as He recently did with the deaf man (7:33). After putting spittle in the blind man’s eyes (in those days, saliva was thought to have healing powers) and laying His hands upon him, the man’s sight is partially restored. In the first stage of the healing, Christ asks if the man can see; given the man’s ability to identify men and trees, the man was not born blind.

In the second stage of healing, Christ completes the miracle by again putting His hands on the man’s eyes, giving him clear vision; the former blind man  “looks intently” and sees “everything clearly.” Though mysterious, Christ’s decision to restore the blind man’s sight in two stages perhaps allows the man to adjust to the miracle; it may also reflect that faith often grows in stages. Christ directs the man to go directly to his home and avoid the village, allowing the man to quietly enjoy his eyesight and to reflect upon the miraculous encounter with God.

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God, Christ is widely recognized as having supernatural powers. Divine King, people offer great deference, begging Him to intervene in desperate situations.  Divine Physician, Christ has the ability to restore sight to the blind.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Reread today’s Gospel and imagine you are a witness to the miraculous healing of the blind man. Be awed.

2) Christ rebukes the Apostles’ lack of engagement which left them blind and deaf to His miracles and teaching (Mark 8:17-18); Christ is asking the Apostles to meditate (“to think over, reflect”).  Review the Church’s teaching on Meditative Prayer (CCC 2705-2708) and learn about the ancient practice of Lectio Divina (Divine Reading); pray for Christ to help you draw closer to Him through ever greater prayerful meditation on Sacred Scripture.

3) In the Incarnation (“to be made flesh”), Christ often physically engages in His healing miracles; He puts His hands on the sick, putting His fingers in ears, touching eyes and even uses spittle for healing. Reflect on the Incarnation and Christ’s True Body (CCC 461-463; 476-477), realizing that Christ understands the physical suffering of you and all people.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful