Thirty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

My dear friends in our Lord: Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever.

The Holy Gospel does not tell us how many years the blind man in today’s lesson carried his own heavy burden meekly until the Lord healed Him. The healing took place, of course, not because he was shouting very loudly, but because our Lord saw the soul of the blind man – and his faith. The Lord restored his sight to him, knowing that this miracle would strengthen the soul of the blind man, which in turn would serve to preach the Gospel and strengthen the faith of the witnesses of this miracle.

The blind man who was sitting at the gates of Jericho obviously knew that he was blind, and therefore with all his heart he asked for sight. We, on the other hand, are sometimes blind and do not know it. Our blindness is not physical, but spiritual, mental, a blindness of the heart. We often wander from God, and we do not hasten to find the way back to Him. The majority of us, like the Pharisees and scribes, feel complacent and do not see, do not feel that God is near.

This is because we do not hear the words of our Lord from last week’s Gospel, and we do not do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Even standing in the intimate presence of the Lord, we do not notice Him. We carry on with our lives, we engange in corrupting conversations, quarrels, experience soul-hurt feelings, think empty thoughts, run around acquiring many unnecessary things, undertake purposeless and joyless work, and much more that closes us off to the voice of the Lord, and deprives our soul of light and life.

The Lord desires to enter into our life, our mind, our heart. He calls us, and we do not hear this call, we do not open unto Him. And He stands silently at the door of our souls, knocking with the hope that we will feel His presence in our hearts, and let Him in our soul so that good changes will occur within us and the light of truth will fill us with God’s grace.

We read in the psalms, “Open mine eyes, that I may understand the wonders of thy law,” (Ps. 118) “Open mine eyes, that I may understand the wonders of thy law.” We need to repeat these words with all our hearts. The Lord who gives spiritual healing and enlightenment will draw near to us.

Unfortunately, today the spiritual blindness of these increasingly anti-Christ, atheistic times prevails in many of us, for daily we are immersed in the spirit of antichrist when we are out in the world. So we must be bold. The demons are, at their core, cowards. We must be as the blind man in today’s Gospel: raising our voices to the Lord, shouting, not afraid of the court of man, not slaves to the opinions of others, not struck down with false meekness, not shackled with false modesty.

And courage it does take, my friends. For how terrible is the darkness that surrounded the blind man! Likewise the darkness – the internal darkness – of all those who live only to satisfy their passions, becoming blinded by them, is so deep that we ultimately completely forget about God, and about our own souls. We become blind, and do not see danger.

Our blindness further lies in the fact that we sometimes do not see the measure of our sinfulness, our spiritual fall. We excuse ourselves for the absence of charity, and sometimes even the hatred for our neighbors thats comes to reign within us.

And this is the example of extreme spiritual blindness — not to see your sins.

“Blessed are the pure of the heart, for they shall see God.” This beatitude is embodied and enlivened in the lives of the saints, who cleansed their hearts from sins and saw God. The saints should for us be an example of an enlightened soul, a pure heart. For the saints saw their sins and lamented their great number — more than the grains of sand on the seashore.

But our misfortune today is that people with spiritual sight are so rare among us. Even worse, we justify our sinful state, saying – not entirely without reason – that for most people this is a normal state.

If someone understands and experiences his sinfulness, fights it, then this person seems out of the norm. A person enlightened by the truth will encounter distrust, ridicule, contempt. For, sadly, there are people who do not see the Creator, nothing turns their minds and hearts to God. Their disbelief is based on spiritual blindness, pride, worldly habits.

But even in blindess, we are not left destitute. In fact, the path of insight, however strange it may seem, is through self-blindness. We must close our eyes in order to break away from the hustle and bustle, from the harmful spectacles and societies, from the brilliance of the golden calves of our day, from the fascination of the spirit of anti-christ.

Having thus closed our eyes to self, we call out to the Lord that He might open them anew. We send up prayer to God for the enlightenment of our blind souls, prayer of repentance – and of thanksgiving.

Just as He did to the blind man, the Lord asks us: What wilt thou that I do to thee? Our Lord asks us this every day. Do we hear Him? Do we answer his question to us? How often do we reply?

Let us resolve that every day, every moment, we seek to cleanse our heart with the help of God in order to hear the Lord’s voice, to hear His question, and to say: I wish to see! Enlighten me, Lord! Cleanse the fallen, free me from the net of passions, enlighten they eyes of my soul, save my very life!

Our blindness is that we do not glorify the Lord in all things. Our eyes are closed at the workings of the mercy of God. But in His mercy He does not allow us to perish.

We are blind to the meaning of the events of our life, we don’t see how truly rich we are, and what it all says about the presence of God, about His influence on our destinies, and how we are directed by Him towards salvation. Our vocation is to become the new person whom Jesus Christ revealed to us by Himself, we are called to be transformed by the grace of the Holy Spirit and, taking the Cross and forgetting the fear of death and ourselves, to follow the Lord.

And the Lord approaches everyone who asks, who seeks spiritual healing. He takes away all blindness and delusion from them. The blind man of Jericho in miraculous boldness received a manifestation of the power of the grace of God not only in his eyes, but also in the heart and in the soul, and, guided by the Holy Spirit, followed the Lord, glorifying Him.

The Lord says: The lamp for the body is the eye. So, if your eye is clear, then your whole body will be
light, but if your eye is corrupt, then your whole body will be dark. The eye is not merely an organ of sight, it is closely connected with our mind, it is identified with our internal state. Therefore, by the light of grace, let us look with a bright eye on the world, and thank God, who fills everything in everything, for His mercy of enlightenment.

Today we praise the Lord in the Church created by His sacrificial offering, where we preserve the faith once delivered to the Apostles. We earnestly pray and hope that the grace of God, which is proclaimed in the Gospel even until now, will touch the souls of those who are now outside the saving church, that God may enlighten them with the light of the knowledge of truth.

May God give us courage and faith in insight, to see how rich life is with divine love, how close the Lord is to us, how He shines with the glory of eternity.

Give us, O Lord, joy — joy to see the light, joy to exclaim: Glory to Thee who hast shown us the light!

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