BY:Fr. Benedict Agbo


HOMILY: * Rev 1 : 1 – 2 : 5, Lk 18 : 35 – 43.

We have before us in today’s gospel, an amazing story of a fervent prayer said by a blind man : ‘Lord, let me see again!’ It is a kind of prayer we need to say again in many Churches because people have different kinds of blindness troubling them ; Physical, Intellectual , psychological or Spiritual. There are those who see only what they want to see ; there are those who see realities differently from the way others see it . We could suffer from physical blindness, caused by sicknesses like cataracts, glycoma, etc, or colour blindness.

We could suffer from alcoholic blindness ( caused by too much intake of alcohol), emotional blindness ( caused by excess emotions of love or hatred), theological blindness ( caused by wrong perception about God), etc. What is pathetic in this prayer : ‘Let me see again’ is that there is a backsliding effect – the patient was seeing before and no longer sees. The 1st reading captures that motif when it says : ‘You have abandoned your first love..Remember then from where you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first’. The blind man needed mercy and restoration back to his original condition of well being.

It is generally difficult to attempt interpreting the book of revelation. What we see in today’s 1st reading as the vision of the 7 churches, 7 spirits, 7 stars and 7 golden lampstands are images of deliverance for a troubled Church. The New American Bible tells us that it is resistance literature, composed to meet a crisis – namely the persecution of the early Christians. For us now these persecutions are in the form of terrible temptations by worldly values and pleasures. Insanity is the greatest and most complicated problem in Christendom today. Many people are actually mad but as Monsignor Taddeo Onoyima would say, there are different degrees of transient madness – once you can’t see things as clearly as expected, you have a form of blindness threatening you. Real demonization therefore is the blocking of sight while real deliverance is the removal of ‘presumptuous notions set up against the Word of God’ – they could be heretical ideas, feelings of bitterness and hatred towards a neighbour or bitterness against self and / or God. These feelings are indeed capable of blocking our visions of reality and so affect our sanity.

So many Christian denominations are victims of this kind of blindness. It is more dangerous to see wrongly than not to see at all because those who cannot see at all would likely depend on the visual judgment of others, but those who think they are seeing clearly when they are actually wearing a tinted glass are actually pathologically sick and blind. Many cannot see the spiritual conflicts going on at the spiritual realm of their lives. They may think they know what they are doing without knowing ‘what is doing them’ as one of my friends will always put it- I mean they may not know what is manipulating their actions metaphysically. They think just like the Saducees or the scientists, denying the spiritual forces, angels and spirits. Some others would think like the fanatical Pharisees, seeing everything as satanic including the singing of birds at night above their roofs. They see every ailments like ulcer or worms in their stomach as poison and before long may withdraw from orthodox medication. These people are gullible and are at the mercy of diviners and fortune tellers, especially the bible – carrying ones.

As temptations and trials of this world present themselves, many still look at situations with the visual lens of our forefathers. They are sitting down in Church pews on Sundays but their mindsets are still paganish. There is no better prayer we can say today than that said by our blind beggar : ‘Jesus, son of David have pity on us…that we may see clearly’. The tremendous faith of this blind man was praised by Jesus in today’s gospel. An artist captured his abandoned walking stick as he went to Christ with the certainty of being cured. I marvel at the way many Christians pray today – one leg at the Church, one leg at the shrine. He was also the grateful type – He followed Jesus after his cure and continued to give testimony. May the Lord increase our faith and our vision of both heavenly and earthly realities. We ask God to restore our sight in the various dimensions we have had some close shove with blindness and also restore our sanity in various ways we are having distorted visions of reality.

May God bless you today!

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