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Jesus, look at our handicaps!

Homily for Sunday July 15th 2023 Matthew 9.27-31 (Jesus heals two blind men)


 

Glory to Jesus Christ.

We are living in a society that exalts all around gifted persons, a society

profoundly influenced by the theory of Darwin, viewing today’s humanity for the survival of

the fittest. My father, in many ways, was a model the fittest. He was admired by all: all around

healthy, the most intelligent and good looking of men, in everything he undertook, his qualities

were a stride above others… and wanted his son to be the same. This was a real challenge as I

grew up: I would come home from school ashamed to show him my report cards that he had to

sign monthly: I was one of the last ranked in my classes in every subject. If I am here today as a

monk and a priest, it is because, little by little, I was led to face that not only I did not want to

respond to my father’s expectations, but that I would never be capable of responding to his

expectations.


When I was 10 years old, God’s Providence showed me another way, something

other than following my father’s footsteps. We were a traveling family and were visiting in

1960 the old city of Jerusalem like so many secular tourists. As we were walking down one of

the narrow cobble stone streets, four blind men came up in our direction, walking side by side,

chatting. Those 4 handicapped persons were conveying a happiness that was outside of what my

father was constantly proposing me. In my heart, of a little 10 year old, I said to myself: “I want

to be like those blind men”. Since then I have been always envious of the beauty of

handicapped people, and skeptical of those who appear to be successful persons. When I was 19

years old, for the first time in my life, I was introduced to the person of Jesus. I discovered

someone who excelled in making shine the beauties of handicapped persons. When I discovered

this, immediately, I wanted Jesus as companion of my life. Providentially, through the initiative

of some school class friends, I was taken to visit a monastery. There I saw other persons who

wanted also Jesus as companion of their lives, and I said in my heart: “This is my family”.


Here, today, 53 years later, I have nothing else to say to you than: “This is my family”. It is so

wonderful to hear today about Jesus meeting two blind men. Jesus lets two blind men follow

him into the house and Jesus says to them: “Do you want me to introduce you deep into what

happiness is?” Jesus does not require anything more from these blind men than their repeated

shout: “O Jesus, look at our handicaps”. And Jesus only says to them: “I love you. You do not

need to be successful persons. Only believe that the distress caused by your handicaps is a door

by which the treasures of my love can be poured into your lives and through your lives to all

humanity.” Jesus confirms his words healing them, and warns them: “I am sharing to you a

secret which is not directly transmissible to others, I am sharing to you a unique love experience

which is associated with your handicaps”. Today’s Gospel goes on to say that the two blind

men were incapable of keeping to their identity associated with weakness. We also are

incapable of keeping our identity associated to weakness. We are so quick to focus on an

identity of the successful man. We want so much to spread the news: “Look I have become a

successful person”. If we say: “Look, I have succeeded to give a good homily”… we lose

companionship with Jesus, we lose everything. Did we hear the first reading from the Epistle of

Saint Paul to the Romans? “Jesus does not please himself”, “Jesus does not please himself”…

Simply, He bears the weaknesses of the handicapped. What a beautiful vocation it is to be a

Christian. But such a vocation is so so fragile… a nothing and we leave companionship with

Jesus.


It is too difficult to convey to you today the wonderful heavenly celebrations we are living this

week here in this temple: the awesome consecrations of two monks: Brother Cosmos and the

now named Father Sophrony. They are two model blind men whom Jesus has wonderfully

espoused for a life beyond death. In addition we are celebrating this Sunday the Holy Fathers of

the founding Councils of the Catholic Church. They confess with precise words the greatest

mysteries. We, monks, have been singing to Jesus today with their impressive expressions: O

Word of God and Lover of Mankind, You are both perfect man and perfect God, You are one

person with a divine act and a divine will, uncreated and infinite. You have also a human act

and a human will, those of the Son of Man.


And You, O God are also a Trinity of Divine Persons, Father Son and Holy Spirit of one

consubstantial nature, You are of one will, of one act with no beginning, which will never have

an end, in the simplicity of the One Divine Being. There is so much enthusiasm and thanks to

God we offer in this Divine Liturgy! We are together to celebrate our awesome identity as

Christians, but so, so fragile! Let us truly pray for one another. Glory to Jesus Christ.

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