Memorial of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, religious
(Revelation 1:1-4; 2:1-5; Psalm 1; Luke 18:35-43)
In a recent film, title role character Henry Poole cannot see the face of Christ on the side of his house. “You’re not looking,” protests a woman who believes the image is miraculously produced. Whether or not it is a miracle, the woman is correct in suggesting that faith is a particular way of seeing. Faith looks beyond appearances into the heart of reality. It discerns divinity in the Eucharistic bread, loving care supporting a people devastated by famine, and the eternal destiny of life succumbing to cancer. In the gospel today, the faith of the blind beggar recognizes Jesus as Israel’s long-awaited savior even without the faculty of sight.
Determination characterizes the blind man’s faith as well as conviction. When the people rebuke him – perhaps because they hear his salutation “Son of David” as blasphemy -- he yells all the louder. Because of his clamorous insistence, Jesus responds favorably to the beggar’s request for physical sight.
Finally, the man’s faith propels him to follow Jesus and to praise God. That is, he no longer sits alone but becomes part of the Christian community. Here he will meet like-minded people who have been similarly touched by Jesus’ gracious presence. Together they will comfort one another, call others to their company, and create a better world until Jesus returns in glory.