Christ healing the Blind Man,
Painted by Andrei Mironov (born 1975),
Oil on canvas,
Painted in 2009,
© Andrei Mironov Artist

Christ healing the Blind Man,
Painted by Andrei Mironov (born 1975),
Oil on canvas,
Painted in 2009,
© Andrei Mironov Artist

Gospel of 15 February 2023

Jesus laid his hands on the man’s eyes and he saw clearly

Mark 8:22-26

Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida, and some people brought to him a blind man whom they begged him to touch. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Then putting spittle on his eyes and laying his hands on him, he asked, ‘Can you see anything?’ The man, who was beginning to see, replied, ‘I can see people; they look like trees to me, but they are walking about.’ Then he laid his hands on the man’s eyes again and he saw clearly; he was cured, and he could see everything plainly and distinctly. And Jesus sent him home, saying, ‘Do not even go into the village.’

Reflection on the painting

Andrei Mironov's father was a Soviet militia officer in the old USSR. Andrei followed his father's footsteps and also entered the Soviet army, taking part in the First Chechen War. Being self-educated in painting, he developed his own, highly classical style of painting religious subjects such as the artwork we are looking at today. Light emanates from Christ and shines upon the blind man's face. Jesus is about to touch the blind man's eyes. The blind man's unusual facial expression reveals expectation mixed with slight nervousness for what is about to happen. Christ's right hand (with a gesture of 'giving') and the blind man's left hand (with a gesture of 'receiving') also tell a whole story. Not only are their eyes connected but the hands, too, show a bond.

It actually is the hand which is the focus of the start of our Gospel passage: 'He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village'…. This is a kind, gentle act of love which Jesus bestows upon the blind man before the miracle happens. Jesus did not have to do this: he could have healed the man, there and then, where he was. However, Jesus chose to spend some time alone with the man, privately. The healing was a private moment between the two of them, just as our faith is a very private, personal, intimate connection with Jesus. And the we move from the private to the public where we live out our faith. Some of the most beautiful and faith-growing moments in our lives are when we are completely alone with God… where he can spend time with us and cure us of our own blindness…

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Margaret Burke
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Margaret Burke
1 year ago

What a wonderful reflection! Those private moments with God are what equip us with the calmness and strength to cope with the everyday challenges in our lives. Thank you.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 year ago

Wonderful contributions today good people. Thank you.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 year ago

Yes Patrick, you have shown us Mironov’s work before – excellent at portraying a moment, and wonderful here. Again Christ says don’t tell anyone – for the healed, that command would be very hard to obey!

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 year ago

Even before I read this I wondered what the passage would be. For the first time in weeks I felt much stronger this morning, I woke up to a lovely message from my son. For a long time our relationship was broken, at times even hostile. Now, we support each other in our common endeavour for justice. Through prayers and tears God has been leading my son and I back together, and we have become very strong.
I am seeing things differently today and I thank each and every one of you wonderful people for your help and support. God is good, may He bless you all.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 year ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

Clearly something difficult you are facing SFG, but that you and your son are back together is a blessing indeed.

marleen de vlieghere
Member
marleen de vlieghere
1 year ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

SFG, I am so happy for you and your son. Prayers continue!

Andy Bocanegra
Member
Andy Bocanegra
1 year ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

I’m glad to see that God is working in your relationship with your son.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 year ago

I would be very proud if I could paint like that. The attempt by the communists to expunge Christianity from the Soviet Empire was horrible. But the Russian Church it seems to be enjoying a rebirth today – thank God.

Jo Siedlecka
Member
Jo Siedlecka
1 year ago

I like the blind man’s description of people ‘looking like trees’ – it has such a ring of authenticity. And your reflection about the importance of being alone with God.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 year ago
Reply to  Jo Siedlecka

I agree about the ring of authenticity. There are a number of events in the Gospels that have these small details that bring the story alive. Such as when the disciples ran to Jesus’ tomb after the resurrection but one got there quicker as he ran faster being younger.

Moira Cunningham
Member
Moira Cunningham
1 year ago

Thank you, both for the explanation and the contribution of MB. A great help to my prayer and thinking today.

Simon Dahdah
Member
Simon Dahdah
1 year ago

Just a question for the audience: Why does Jesus let it take two tries to heal the man in this passage? I’ve had it explained to me but I’ve forgotten: is it to show the gradual process faith heals us through? Sometimes it’s not an instantons healing, but a slow, gentle one? I just remember whoever was explaining to me the reason for this being very clear that it wasn’t because Jesus needed to do it twice for it to work!

Anthony
Member
Anthony
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Dahdah

I wonder also. Perhaps it is to do with the man’s faith.
I have always wondered why Jesus would do things this way when he could just heal anyone at will.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 year ago
Reply to  Anthony

I think it’s because he only had so much spiritual strength in him. He had a reservoir which needed topping up I expect through prayer. He needed every bit of his spiritual strength to survive his Passion and Cruxifixion.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Dahdah

I think it is because we can see others in two ways: as soul-less as trees, or we see people “clearly,” as children of God.

Mike Baird
Member
Mike Baird
1 year ago

A number of points stand out in this event. The blind man has friends committed to him. Jesus follows a complicated healing process involving much touching of the blind man’s hands and face. The healing requires two steps from Jesus. The healing is undertaken in private.

In the Gospels Jesus’ healing is recorded as occurring spontaneously, instantly, slowly, unconsciously, deliberately, remotely, intimately, from direct pleas and from the intercession of others, in fact in just about every different way possible. There is no set formula, barring each occurrence had the presence of faith.

As an aside, there are two other instances of Jesus using his spittle to heal blindness, including John 9:1-7 where Jesus makes mud with his saliva before laying it in the blind man’s eyes. This gives a whole new meaning to the salutation, “Here’s mud in your eye”.

Jesus, there are areas in my life where I suffer a blindness to my own brokenness. Lord, I want to see again.
Saint Philip Neri, please pray for me.

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