Memorial of Saint Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church
(Isaiah 29:17-24; Matthew 9:27-31)
Saint Ambrose was not raised a Catholic. His father was a Roman patrician who afforded Ambrose a classical education. Ambrose became a government official and served as governor of the Roman province around Milan. While there, he decided to join the Christian catechumenate. In this way he completed his intellectual formation from the perspective of faith in Jesus Christ. It might be said that he was seeking a new way of seeing reality. No longer would people be objects with only utilitarian value. As a Christian, he would see them as images of the Creator worthy of respect and love. Ambrose’s new way of seeing parallels the new sight Jesus gives to the two blind men in today’s gospel. These cures are significant because they fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy in the first reading.
Isaiah prophesizes that in the fullness of time blind persons would no longer live in darkness. Jesus again provides this blessing. But his cures of blindness do not stop there as if seeing sunrays were the epitome of human desire. More importantly, Jesus confirms the faith of the blind men in him as Lord. This gift moves them beyond the challenges of life to the road to eternal happiness.
Like Ambrose we believe in order to see. That is, we accept the truths of faith so that we can have a rightful understanding of the world. We need not fear that faith conflicts with science as secularists say. The two -- faith and science -- cover different realms of being and are compatible. Belief even aids research as it provides scientists with increased motivation. Faith-filled scientists do their research not just to make a living and to develop knowledge but for a higher purpose. They fulfill the human task of praising the Creator by discovering the wonder of His work.