The vision of the prophet Isaiah today (35:4-7) is full of energy and good news. My heart was lifted to hope as I felt his words: THUS SAYS THE LORD! Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God…who comes to save you…Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf will be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag and the tongue of the mute will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools and the thirsty ground springs of water! Good news indeed, which the psalmist picks up again in Ps. 146, speaking about God giving sight to the blind and raising up those who are bowed down.
When I read of Jesus curing the blind man in MK 7:31-37, it appeared that the easy topic for today was gratitude for all of God’s gifts, especially of healing of the senses and the earth, but the second reading from the Letter of James (2:1-5) wouldn’t be ignored. Show no partiality, James says, when dealing with other people. Sometimes our prejudices are based on what we see and hear and sometimes they are so subtle that we do not recognize the motivation for our leanings toward or against another person. James speaks of blatant things: gold rings and fine clothes vs. shabbiness in dress. Sometimes a regional or foreign accent draws or repels us – or sometimes it is religious or political party affiliation…The list is endless. So when the Scriptures speak of blindness or deafness I think it is clear that in addition to our physical senses, we need to be attentive to openness on deeper levels. Ephphatha! Jesus cries. Be opened! – the key I will carry to observe my thoughts and actions throughout this day.