Sometimes blind people can recognize more than those who have eyes with which to see. Once, in a group of people who were observing flowers, I was impressed with the way a blind person examined a flower. Very cautiously he traced with his fingertips the stem and the leaves; even more gingerly he touched the flower, attentively breathed in the scent of the flower—and afterwards he could tell us more about this one flower than all the other people. Now, which of them is blind, the blind person or the seeing ones?
The same thing happens with the blind beggar by the wayside and the people who pass him by. The people may walk in crowds ahead of Jesus and behind Him, but they only recognize the carpenter’s son from Nazareth in Him. “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” they shout at him. But the blind man sees something else: not Jesus of Nazareth, but the Messiah. “Jesus, son of David, have compassion on me!” he loudly calls out. The son of David, that is after all the identifying mark of the Messiah. Long before the people finally recognize Him as the Messiah, for a moment, on Palm Sunday (“Hosanna to the Son of David!”) the blind beggar had seen it already.
And we? How often do we blindly pass by the most precious thing in the world? Learn from thenblind, from the beggars, the homeless, and the outcasts who have nothing to lose, to distinguish the essential from the non-essential. And otherwise: realize that you are blind yourself, and become a beggar for the spirit. Maybe then you will learn to see the world with different eyes.
Contemplation by Bastiaan Baan, August 22, 2021