HOMILY WEEK 33 01 – Year II

Faith, Forgiveness and Healing:

(Rev 1:1-2:5; Ps 1:1-6; Lk 18:35-43)


“Lay your hands gently upon us, let your touch render your peace! Let them bring your forgiveness and healing; lay your hands, gently lay your hands.”

Those words from the hymn by Carey Landry touch on the message from today’s readings – having a strong faith leading us to repentance, experiencing forgiveness and undergoing healing in any way we need it – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

The blind man in the gospel is a model of faith for us. Imagine his plight, having lost his sight (he asks Jesus to see again), and reduced to the sidelines of life, barely eking out a living. He must have heard about the miracles done by Jesus. And when he heard it was Jesus passing by, he acted out of that strong faith, crying out of his need, and identifying Jesus correctly as Son of David, the long-awaited Messiah who was to be born of the lineage of David.

That cry made Jesus stop in his tracks and stand still. Imagine, the creator of this universe and divine Son of God, hears the cry of the beggar, stops, stands still, and orders him to be brought to him. The crowd that initially sternly tried to silence him, now becomes a healing community bringing the blind man to Jesus.

Then Jesus asks him the obvious – “What do you want me to do for your?” I think this question lifts this incident to the level of a ritual in the kingdom of God – like the question asked of the parents and godparents at a baptism ceremony – “What do you ask of the church for this child” when everyone knows the answer. This also resonates with the dynamics of intercessory prayer – we need to articulate our need to really appreciate the answer to our own prayer.

The response of the blind man is significant – “Lord, let me see again.” The blind man’s faith moves from belief in Jesus of Nazareth, Son of Mary, to Son of David, and now he calls him Lord, so Son of God. And Jesus heals him, gives him back his sight. We are told all the people give glory to God and the beggar follows him, praising God – a wonderful model of what our response to God’s love should be – praise and following Jesus. His was a strong faith leading to physical healing.

In the first reading, Paul commends the Ephesians for their faith, their patience and their vigilance, but chides them for their loss of fervor. They were starting to get lax, to take their faith for granted, to lose the sharp edge of faith they had at the beginning.

St. John of the Cross lays out six stages of what followers of Jesus might experience during their lifetime. The first is pre-conversion, when everything is somewhat superficial. The second is conversion, when they fall in love with something new. The third is first fervor, when all is fresh and exciting and captivating. This is the honeymoon stage, but it won’t last, as honeymoons are not meant to last. The fourth stage takes over – loss of first fervor. This is the critical stage during which many people give up, and where the devil parks at the doorway to lure people away from their faith commitment and discourage them.

This must be the stage the Ephesians were going through, leading Paul to exhort them on to the next stage, one of commitment and proficiency – a stage that should take us through most of our lives. If we live long enough, there will be a sixth stage, the Dark Night of the Spirit, when we will be challenged to purify our faith of any extraneous traits. During this stage we may be called to be radical disciples and accept some redemptive suffering in our lives. If we can do this without bitterness or resentment, then we are just like Jesus on the cross, and in the kingdom of God.

So, Paul calls the Ephesians to repentance, to do metanoia, to put on their highest mind, to change their way of thinking and acting to bring it more in line with God’s will for them, and follow Jesus more closely. They may need to come to him for forgiveness, which is what Jesus as the Messiah came to bring in his two-fold role – to redeem and sanctify, to forgive and to heal.

We need forgiveness for our sins and wrong-doing, and the forgiveness is always there, waiting for us to come to Jesus with faith and receive it. But we also can come to him for healing of our painful emotions, negative attitudes, and addictions, as well as physical healing like the blind beggar. And hopefully, that experience of the unconditional love of God will lead us to be like the beggar, praise God and follow Jesus.

The Eucharist is a great act of faith and one of the best ways we have to offer God our gratitude and praise. Even as we celebrate it we are being forgiven and healed, and hopefully empowered to go out and both praise the goodness of God, as well as follow Jesus as his disciples dedicated to sharing his love with all we meet.


Updated: November 14, 2022 — 2:19 am

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