The Blind Man Healed at Jericho

The Gospel lesson of Luke 18:35-43 has a blind beggar petitioning Jesus for mercy.  The blind man is given the gift of sight by Christ.

Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) writes:

“We must believe that our Savior’s miracles were truly performed, and that they are revelations as well; his works show us one thing by their power, and tell us another mystically. We do not know the historical identity of the blind man who was sitting by the wayside as Jesus drew near to Jericho, but we know who it is he mystically represents. The blind man is the human race. Driven from the joys of paradise in our first parents, and ignorant of the brightness of divine light, our race experienced the darkness of rejection. Yet we are enlightened by the presence of our Redeemer, so that we can already behold the joys of inner light through our desire for them, and can direct our footsteps, our good works, in the way of life.

The blind man is described as sitting by the wayside, and also as begging. Jesus himself told us: I am the way.

Those who are ignorant of the brightness of eternal light are blind. If they already believe in their Redeemer they are sitting by the wayside. If they believe, and acknowledge the blindness of their hearts, and if they beg to receive the light of truth, they are sitting by the wayside and begging. If any of you recognize the darkness of your blindness, if any of you understand that you lack the light of truth, then cry out from the bottom of your hearts, cry out with your thoughts, cry out ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Be Friends of God: Spiritual Readings from Gregory the Great, pp 23-24)

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