Today’s Gospel gives us St. Luke’s account of Jesus’ healing of a blind man.
A blind beggar, hearing the commotion of the crowds, learns that Jesus is passing by and shouts out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” Ignoring the rebukes of the people around him, he keeps calling out until Jesus hears him. When Jesus does, he asks the man (as he so often asks those whom he encounters) what he wants. “Lord, please let me see” is his reply. Jesus’ response is “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” And we are told by St. Luke that the man immediately received his sight “and followed him.”
The man was healed and began to follow Jesus.
We don’t catch the full significance of the action of the beggar unless we realize that this encounter recorded by Luke occurs after Jesus’ third prediction of the passion and as Jesus is already on the road toward Jerusalem – where he will be arrested, tortured and executed. The beggar is healed by Jesus, and that healing allows him to follow Jesus to the cross.
That is what is asked of us. Not to just follow Jesus while he is healing the sick, walking on water, feeding the multitudes and attending dinner parties and wedding feasts with his friends. We are asked to do exactly what the (formerly) blind man did – follow Jesus to Jerusalem, to the cross.
And it it precisely Jesus’ healing love and grace that allows us to do that.