The Second Touch

Mark 8: 22-26
Jas 1: 19-27/ Psalm 15

He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes He laid His hands on him and asked, “Do you see anything?”
(Mark 8:23)

Asking instant healing to appear,
Our faith does not amount to much;
But if in prayers we persevere,
Our God will grant His “second touch.”

They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.” (Mark 8:22-26)

Reflection

The Gospel of Mark is the only one that relates this miracle in our Lord’s life. And this appears to be the only miracle performed by Jesus that did not happen instantly. It seems our Lord had a purpose for this, and it was for the benefit of His apostles.

When they first arrived in Bethsaida, some people brought the blind man to Jesus, and “begged Him to touch him.” The crowd had heard about Jesus and only wanted to witness a miracle. We recall how Jesus felt about these people in Bethsaida: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!” (Mt.12:21) They had such little faith, and Jesus would not let them make a spectacle of the blind man’s healing. Instead, He led him out of the village, away from the crowd, and when he was healed, told him not to go back to the village. Jesus taught His apostles that His work of charity was not for show. But why the two-step, process of healing? One explanation could be that a gradual process of seeing for the first time was preferable than a sudden visual experience that could traumatize the once blind man. Seeing people upright for the first time was for him like “seeing trees walking.” But more importantly, the reason Jesus used this gradual process of healing was to show His apostles that their faith was still in the process of growing. They still could not ‘see’ clearly because of their weak faith, even after they had witnessed a number of miracles beforehand.

God is more interested in developing our faith than in healing our physical ailments. I had been wondering why our nephew, who was paralyzed by an aneurism attack had not fully recovered even after so many people had been praying for him for almost two years. When he finally succumbed to the inevitable, I realized that his sickness had made all of us more prayerful, closer to each other, and closer to God. His suffering had not been in vain, we have all become stronger in faith by it.

Father, help us to see beyond our temporal difficulties, for although we have faith in You, our vision still lacks clarity. Lead us closer to the light of Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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