By Fr. Roy Cimagala
IT’S interesting to note that while most miracles performed by Christ had instant effects, there was at least one miracle that took time and stages before the final effect took place.
This was when a blind man was brought to him, begging for a cure. (cfr. Mk 8,22-26) As the gospel narrates, Christ brought him first outside the village. And then he started to put spittle on the eyes, which enabled the blind man to see people like trees. And when Christ applied spittle a second time on the eyes, that was when the blind could see people and things clearly.
Obviously, the blind man who could now see was beside himself with delight. He must have been eager to broadcast the wonderful cure he just received. But Christ told him to keep quiet and to just go home, telling him not to go even to the village.
Somehow this gospel episode that God’s ways can take time and requires some stages. There are good reasons for that. It also reminds us that, like Christ, we have to learn how to be discreet and to pass unnoticed while doing something good to others. This is to reassure the purity of our intentions.
God’s ways can take time and can involve certain stages because the Christian ideals are eminently spiritual and supernatural in nature, although adapted, of course, to our human condition. As such, they usually are above our head, and cannot be attained simply using our natural powers. We need God’s grace which would take time and effort for us to correspond properly to it.
And that’s because in corresponding to God’s grace, we have to learn, for example, how to materialize the spiritual, how to put in the proper context the supernatural ways of God and messages of the gospel, etc. God’s gradual but supernatural ways are also in consideration of our human condition that requires us to correspond to God’s interventions in our life in our human and natural ways.
It is also a way of seeing to it that our intentions are pure when we receive his blessings, favors and miracles. That gospel episode of the blind man cured by Christ is teaching us that if we want to be truly Christian, we have to do a lot of good, with God’s help and our all-out effort, doing it without attracting unnecessary attention. It can only show how our intentions are pure, that is to say, that what we do is simply to give glory to God from whom all good things come, and not to ourselves.
Why did Christ cure the blind man gradually? I believe the answer lies in the fact that Christ wants to be known both as God and man, and as our Redeemer, not out of idle curiosity or for merely practical purposes, but really out of faith. We have to be wary of our all-too-human way of reacting to God’s favors for us. It usually tempts us to have an ego-trip.
And that is because our belief in Christ is often corrupted by merely human motives. It’s not faith, but some mixture of idle curiosity and other practical purposes that make us follow him.
And when these idle curiosity and practical purposes would already have their fill, or worse, are not met as expected, then that belief in Christ falls apart. The apostles themselves were not exempt from this phenomenon. Many times, Christ would lament over their lack of faith!