Friday December 2, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier First Week of Advent
Reading (Isaiah 29:17-24) Gospel (St. Matthew 9:27-31)
In the Gospel reading today, we hear about these two blind men who call out to Jesus. As we have seen in the past, one of the things that would strike us as being very strange is that rather than going over and healing the men Jesus continued on His journey. The two blind men had to follow Him, and they had to come to the house where Jesus was located before He would heal them. Now under normal circumstances, we would think, “Why would Our Lord do such a thing? Why didn’t He just go over to them, since they were blind? Why did He make them follow Him, even though they were blind?” It really comes down to the question of how much we really believe and how much we really want to be healed. That is what the real problem comes down to.
It is the same difficulty we talk about regularly. We give lots of lip service to God, but we really do not put our faith into action sometimes. The Lord made these two blind men follow Him to really ask the question of them: How serious are you about this? When He asked them the question: Do you believe I can do this for you, they said “yes.” After all, they believed enough that they followed Him even though they were blind, and they came to the house where Our Lord was located. Our Lord now looks at us in all our spiritual blindness and He asks us: Do you believe I can do this for you? We have to answer the same question.
For most of us, it really has not been too terribly difficult to be able to come to the Lord; therefore, most of us are content just to stay right about where we are. These two blind men, remember, once they were healed, their entire life was going to change. Being blind, they could beg; and they had been, I suspect, for years. Being able to see, they would have to go out and find employment. They would not be able to beg at the side of the road anymore. People knew who they were as blind men; now they were going to have to deal with things in an entirely different way. Their entire world was going to be changed, and so it will be for us.
On a physical level, there is a situation I am aware of where there was an individual who was in pretty rough shape physically, and through prayer God healed him. The result of that is his family refuses to talk to him and his friends abandoned him. The reason is because he kept telling them, “God did this.” It was no doctor, it was nobody else, it was prayer–and nobody wanted to hear it, including his own Catholic family.
So the question, once again, is: Are we really willing to change. Do we want the blindness gone? Even though we could look at it and say, “Why wouldn’t these two blind men want to see,” we realize, as I mentioned, that their whole lives are going to change. They are going to relate to people differently than they ever had before. Now we ask the question of ourselves: Do we really want the Lord to remove the spiritual blindness? We are going to have to change, we are going to have to face some things that maybe are not very pleasant for us to face, and change is our biggest problem. For some unfortunate reason, we would rather sit in our blindness than be healed, because we are afraid and we do not want to change. It is easier to sit in the gloom and darkness of our lives than it is to think about what it would mean if we would be healed and we would be able to see God in a more perfect way. It would be just like these two blind men; once the Lord does this for us, what are we going to do but go out and spread the word of Him throughout the land? And we know people do not want that either, so it is easier for us just to sit where we are.
Step outside of yourself for a moment and look at it objectively. Put yourself in somebody else’s place looking at you. What would you say to them? “Oh, just sit in your mediocrity and quit complaining about it. Oh, just don’t worry about being healed. Don’t try to serve God any greater than you are. Just don’t worry about trying to change.” I do not think we would tell people that. But that is what we tell ourselves, and we buy into the devil’s little game. There is only one person who is going to benefit by our not becoming holy, and that is Satan, the only one. Why do we listen to him instead of God?
So the Lord is going to make us work for it. We can sit back right now and say, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if the Lord would do something for me.” He is going to look at us and say, “How badly do you want it? How serious are you about this?” Are you serious enough, like the two blind men, to follow Him through the streets all the way to the house where He entered? Or are we just going to sit back and wallow in the self-pity and say, “Gee, I wish He’d do something for me.” We need to make the choice. He is going to look at us and say, “Do you really believe that I can do this for you? How much do you want it?” What are you willing to do in order to do God’s Will? in order to be healed spiritually? That is the question each one of us has to ask in the depths of our heart: How badly do we really want it?
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.