Cycle (B) 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Is 35:4-7; James 2:1-5; Mark 7:31-37

"The Country of the Blind" is a Short story written by H.G Wells. While attempting to summit the unconquered crest of Parascotopetl, a fictitious mountain in Ecudor, a mountaineer named Nunez slips and falls down the far side of the mountain. At the end of his descent, down a snow-slope in the mountain's shadow, he finds a valley, cut off from the rest of the world on all sides by steep precipices.

It was an unusual village with windowless houses and a network of paths, all bordered by
kerbs. Upon discovering that everyone is blind, Nunez begins reciting to himself the refrain, "In the Country of the Blind the One-Eyed Man is King". He realizes that he can teach and rule them, but the villagers have no concept of

sight and do not understand his attempts to explain this fifth sense to them. Frustrated, Nunez becomes angry but they calm him and he reluctantly submits to their way of life because returning to the outside world is impossible.

Nunez is assigned to work for a villager named Yacob, and becomes attracted to Yacob's youngest daughter, Medina-saroté. Nunez and Medina-saroté soon fall in love with one another, and having won her confidence, Nunez slowly starts trying to explain sight to her. Medina-saroté, however, simply dismisses it as his imagination. When Nunez asks for her hand in marriage he is turned down by the village elders on account of his "unstable" obsession with "sight". The village doctor suggests that Nunez's eyes be removed, claiming that they are diseased and are affecting his brain. Nunez reluctantly consents to the operation because of his love for Medina-saroté. But at sunrise on the day of the operation, while all the villagers are asleep, Nunez, the failed King of the Blind, sets off for the mountains hoping to find a passage to the outside world and escape the valley.


Sight is one of the greatest blessings that we enjoy. Since we are able to see from our birth we do not appreciate its value. Helen Keller who became blind describes beautifully, her longing to see.  In Today's first reading Isaiah reminds Israelites that when God leads his people home, He will work miracles on behalf of those who need it most: blind, deaf, lame and mute persons Today’s gospel tells us how Jesus, by healing a deaf and mute man, fulfils Isaiah's Messianic prophecy, "The eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped."


The ailments listed by Isaiah are symbolic of our interior illnesses: blindness to the needs of our neighbour. When we apply the miracle of Jesus symbolically to our generation, we are the blind people who need to be touched by Jesus to open our eyes. We remain blind to the needs of our brothers; we remain blind to the injustice around us; we remain blind to the violation of human rights; we remain blind to the persecution of women and children. Like Nunez we show willingness to sacrifice them at our sight for little selfish gains.


When we are blessed with everything we take things for granted. The most powerful thing is that we are alive. We are capable of changing ourselves; we are capable of changing our situation; we are capable of changing the lives of the people who come into contact with us. That is what Jesus did. Seeing his actions people commented, "He has done all things well."   But the question is, "are we prepared to do so?" we are not. Because life has no urgency for us. Jesus knew that he had no much time left. He had a lot of work to be completed. That sense of urgency made him work even without any rest. We take things for granted and assume that we have a lot of time to begin our work. We hear about people who die in accidents; we hear about people who go to bed and never get up; we hear about people who sit for breakfast but never leave the table. These everyday experiences compel us to take life seriously. If we want to do something it requires to be done today, and now. If we postpone we may not get a chance to do it again.


Jesus is waiting willingly to cure our blindness and our deafness, by giving his Spirit. Accept our mission to be at the service of our brothers and sisters.

May God bless you.