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Do you believe?

by Dec 3, 2021Friar Reflection

In today’s Gospel Jesus heals two blind men.  They cry out to Jesus for mercy: “Son of David have mercy on us!”  Jesus’ question to them is simple and direct: “Do you believe?”  “Do you believe that I can do this?”

The two men’s call for pity or mercy uses the same words that we use at the beginning of Mass: “Kyrie elèison, Lord have mercy.”  God’s mercy is healing.  God’s mercy includes forgiveness of sins but is not limited to forgiveness.  The two blind men are not sinners but still they need Jesus’ mercy and healing: they want to be able to see.  Jesus’ mercy heals them: “Let it be done for you according to your faith.”

We need to be careful, however, not to be too literal in our interpretation of these words or pull them out of their context.  We all know people who have prayed to God for physical healing and were not healed.  We should never claim that they were not healed because they lacked faith.  Such a simplistic answer lacks compassion.  What a terrible burden to add to people already suffering from an illness by telling them they lack faith.  We do not know the ways of God and cannot judge the faith of another because there are people “whose faith you [God] alone have known” (Eucharistic Prayer IV).

There are also people, good and sincere Christians, who refuse to get the COVID vaccine because they have faith that Jesus will take care of them.  But God works through doctors, nurses, and scientists.  If we have cancer or are in a car accident we turn to these professionals because with our faith in God we know God works through them.

Pope Francis calls us to recognize that God’s grace works through these professionals: “Thanks to God’s grace and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19.”  The Pope went on to say that getting the vaccine for those who are medically able is an act of love:

“Love for oneself, love for our families and friends, and love for all peoples…Getting vaccinated is a simple yet profound way to care for one another, especially the most vulnerable.”



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