Prayer and Reflection by Bishop Sylvester David OMI

Auxiliary Bishop Sylvester David offers his prayer and reflection for the people of the Archdiocese of Cape Town for today, Friday 4 December 2020, during this time of the coronavirus pandemic. It is also available on the Archdiocese of Cape Town’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Please also see below the text of his reflection, primarily for the deaf.

Reflection for 4 December 2020.

Matthew 9:27-31. “Son of David, have pity on me”.

Please read and re-read the text slowly and prayerfully. Now put yourself in the place of the blind men seeking the help of Jesus. What form does my blindness take? In the passage Jesus touches the diseased part and healing comes. Where do I need healing? These men took a decision to step out of the cycle of depression and misery and only then were they freed. What is it that keeps me back and holds me in a dungeon of despair? In the passage Jesus actually asks: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (9:28). Do I believe that Jesus can make me well. This is important because the healing words are: “Let it be done according to your belief” (9:29).

Okay, now for a comment on the text:

Thus far in the chapter Jesus had healed the woman with the chronic loss of life blood (9:20-22), raised the daughter of Jairus to life (9:23-26) and now as he is about to enter the house he is approached to counter the darkness of the blind.

It is interesting to note that the blind men followed him while still unable to see (9:27). Some are able to see more clearly with their eyes shut than those who have their eyes opened. We see this clearly when Paul was struck blind (Acts 9:8-19). In fact he saw more clearly while blinded than he saw with his natural eyes. When the natural eyes were closed, the eyes of faith were opened. Those interested in probing this will find the ninth chapter of John most illuminating.

In the case of these blind men who firstly recognised their condition, secondly called out to Jesus from the dungeon of their despair, and thirdly (and most importantly) believed that their condition could be reversed; they experienced healing in a most spectacular way. The word used to express that their eyes were opened is very rare in the New Testament. This word when read aloud brings out the meaning of the sentence and highlights the exceedingly new and opened condition of the eyes. This word is used very sparingly in the NT viz. to indicate the opening of the heavens at the baptism of Jesus in Matthew 3:16, to show the opening of the eyes in today’s passage, to highlight the opening of the blind man’s eyes in Jn 9:10, and finally to show the opening of the prison and the chains which bound Paul and Silas in Acts 16:26. In today’s passage this condition only happens after Jesus touches the affected eyes.

It is true that there are none so blind as those who will not see. How often do we chose to turn a blind eye to our own shortcomings, choosing instead to focus on the failings of others? As long as the denial lasts no healing can take place but when we shout out our need and allow Jesus to touch the affected parts, healing can come. I wish you well as we all learn from the two blind men how to recognise our need and how to make it known.

Let us pray: God our father, today you instruct us through the need of two blind men. Help us to learn to admit our helplessness and to allow Jesus to touch us so that we too may be healed. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen [Blessing].

Bishop Sylvester David OMI
VG: Archdiocese of Cape Town

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