Gradually Growing Trees — Wednesday, 6th Week of Ordinary Time—Year II

Readings: James 1:19-27, Mark 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.  He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, “Do you see anything?” Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.” Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly.

Jesus healed the blind man gradually, and he sometimes does the same with us; transforming us over months, years, or a lifetime. The change is subtle and we fail to notice it, “like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror. He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.” If we’ve been following Jesus but doubt our own growth, let us reflect on how we used to look, months or years ago.

Halfway through his cure, the blind man beholds “people looking like trees and walking.” Perhaps this more than just a distorted perception, perhaps he sees a vision of a spiritual reality. Jesus walked and suffered with “a tree”: his cross. (Galatians 3:13) If we have the eyes to see, we recognize that every person walks with a cross of their own. So “everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,” remembering that people resemble gradually growing trees.

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