February 15, 2023
Wednesday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
Readings for Today
When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Mark 8:22–23
Bethsaida was one of the towns just north of the Sea of Galilee in which Jesus preached. Later in His public ministry, Jesus condemns the town of Bethsaida for its failure to convert. “Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes” (Matthew 11:21).
It may be because of their lack of faith and immoral living that Jesus led the blind man outside of the city before He cured Him. And it appears that the people who brought the blind man to Jesus brought him not because of their deep faith, but because of curiosity. This might also be the reason that, once Jesus cured the man, He sent him to his home saying, “Do not even go into the village.” Thus, Jesus knew that this miracle would not lead to faith in the hearts of those living in Bethsaida. So, Jesus instructed the man not to return there.
God has almighty power and can clearly do whatever He chooses, whenever He chooses. And what He often chooses to do is to exercise His almighty power only in the presence of those who already believe, or at least in the presence of those who have not yet rejected Him. When Jesus encounters people who have heard Him preach but have failed to come to faith, He refuses to perform any miracles in their presence.
What this tells us is that faith must come first; then, God’s Almighty power flows freely. Of course, the grace of the Word of God is always given to everyone. The seed of God’s holy Word is always available to all. But it’s important to distinguish between the sending forth of His holy Word of the Gospel and the sending forth of His transforming almighty power. The only way to receive the latter is to first accept the former. Unless we hear, accept and believe in His Word, we will not receive the grace of His transforming power.
With that said, it must also be understood that God’s “almighty power” cannot be reduced to miracles alone. We all know that physical miracles are not nearly as prevalent today as they were at the time Jesus walked the earth. But His almighty power is still at work today; and in a way that is even greater than when Jesus walked the earth. Today, His power is one that transforms us interiorly by the fullness of grace and the bestowal of the Holy Spirit. That is the true miracle that we must always seek and anticipate when we have heard the Word of God and responded with authentic faith.
Reflect, today, upon your faith and your need for God’s transforming power in your life. Do you see faith alive within you? If so, then you will most certainly encounter the power of God in your life and the transformation given by the Holy Spirit. If you do not see this power of grace and interior transformation at work, then ponder the image of Jesus leading the blind man outside of the city to exercise his power. Seek first to have faith, because if you do, our Lord will be able to remain close to you and will do miracles within your soul.
All-powerful Lord, You choose to send forth Your almighty power upon those who have come to faith in You by receiving the Gospel You have sent forth. Please open my ears to hear so that I will choose to convert and believe and, thus, be disposed to be transformed by Your abundant grace. Jesus, I trust in You.
Scripture Meditations for Lent
Featured image above: Christ and the pauper. Healing of the blind man. 2009. Canvas, oil. 100 x 55. Artist A.N. Mironov, via Wikimedia Commons