Friday December 5, 2003 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier First Week of Advent
Reading (Isaiah 29:17-24) Gospel (St. Matthew 9:27-31)
In the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, the prophet is telling us that on that day when the Lord is going to make changes in the way things are the deaf will hear and the blind will see. He goes on to tell us what kind of blindness is also being spoken of, not just the blindness of the eyes, but when he talks about how the blind will come out of the darkness and the gloom, he then goes on to say that on that day they will see the works of the Lord and on that day they will keep His Name holy, that they will reverence the Holy One of Jacob and be in awe of the God of Israel, and those who err in spirit will receive instruction and acquire understanding. It is spiritual insight that is going to be found as well as the physical sight.
And so as Our Lord heals these blind men in the Gospel, they not only receive their physical sight, but far more importantly, they had the spiritual insight to recognize Who Jesus is. They also had the faith, the grace, and the courage to go out and preach the Lord. When one is filled with the light of Christ, one cannot remain silent because He becomes the central point of our lives. One can understand, for instance, the joy that would have been in the lives of these two men if they had not been able to see at all and suddenly the Lord heals them and they are able to see, the joy that they had as they went off and began telling everybody what happened so that they could see. How would one expect that they would stay silent as Jesus told them? Put yourself in that situation. If you were born blind and people suddenly noticed that you could see and said, “What happened that you can see?” not only would you naturally explain it, but you are going to be so filled with joy that, even before they ask, you are going to be telling the whole world all about what happened. But how much more great is the spiritual insight that Our Lord gives to us, the clarity of mind and heart, the grace to be able to recognize the truth, to be able to know Him, and to be in union with Him? This is something that is infinitely greater than being able to see with our eyes – it is to be able to see with the eyes of the soul and to be united with Christ. But, unfortunately, so many of us just take it as a normal, common thing and it is no big deal. So what happens is that we do keep it silent. We keep it hidden. We have the spiritual insight to recognize that Jesus is God, that He is Lord, but somehow many of us do not have the insight to recognize that, if we are going to say that, we have to change the way we live. We have to live according to the Faith we believe.
So we need to pray just like these blind men did and ask the Lord to see, to have faith that He can do it. No matter what the problems are in our lives, no matter what has happened to us in our lives, when the Lord comes to us and we come to Him and He looks at us and says, “Do you believe that I can do this?” we have to be willing to say “Yes.” And not the bet-hedging kind of “yes”: “Well, yeah, I know You can because You’re God, but I don’t know if You really want to. So I don’t know if You’re going to do it for me even though I know You have the power to do it.” No, that is not the way it has to be. When He comes to us and says, “Do you believe that I can do this?” we have to be confident and say “Yes. You are God and You love me. I know that You can and that You will do this for me.” That is the kind of confidence we need to have. These blind men did not waffle around when the Lord asked if they thought He could do this. They were very straightforward and they were very confident in their answer. So it must be with us. When the Lord comes to us, we need to ask Him to heal us, we need to ask Him to give us spiritual insight and courage to be able to do what is right, and we have to be confident that not only can He do it, but He will do it – if we are willing to trust Him with our lives.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.