As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In the text of this reading that we hear at Mass, the blind man yells “have pity on me!”. What do we think of when we hear the word ‘pity’? Pity really is a sympathetic sorrow and simultaneous compassion at the hardships of others. If you’re looking for another word for pity, you will find that mercy, kindheartedness and, most importantly, humanity will be your best choices. It is important to note that Jesus does not simply feel a passive obligation to help the blind man in the Gospel. He is being asked to express comfort and share in the blind man’s emotional experience. I’d like to think that Jesus and the blind man take an untold moment in this story to truly connect and feel the greatness of the Father’s love through one another. What can be more human and Christ-like at the same time than sharing in such a moment? Let us look at those around us with eyes of compassion and open our hearts to feel and imitate God’s capacity for mercy.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved…
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
—Excerpt from the Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee Year of Mercy
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