And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out– beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.” They said to one another, “It is because we have no bread.” And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” They said to him, “Twelve.” “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?” And they said to him, “Seven.” Then he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Can you see anything?” And the man looked up and said, “I can see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he looked intently and his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Then he sent him away to his home, saying, “Do not even go into the village.”
Amidst the vast and varied problems of the world, we might well believe that our daily struggles and concerns seem so trivial in the eyes of God. What are my small troubles to almighty God when compared to the horrors of war or natural disaster or any of the other truly terrible things we see and read about in the news? The text before us today from Mark’s gospel offers a gentle rebuke to this way of thinking. Jesus and his disciples come to Bethsaida where a blind man is brought to Jesus by a group from the village. Their request is simple— they beg him just to touch the man. Jesus takes the blind man by the hand and leads him away—outside of the village, away from the crowds of people seeking Jesus. There, on the outskirts of the village, Jesus gives the blind man his full attention and restores his sight.
From the many people of that village Jesus focuses on one person. He sees this man and ministers to his needs. Such a choice is not a reflection that this person is somehow more important than others but instead reflects the truth that to God each and every one of us is of infinite value and worth. God sees us and genuinely cares about our concerns. The great challenges of the world do not diminish the reality of our own needs, sorrows, and struggles. With God there is no competition, just a loving hand reaching out longing to heal us and our world.
Give ear to our prayers, O Lord, and direct the way of your servants in safety under your protection, that, amid all the changes of our earthly pilgrimage, we may be guarded by your mighty aid; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2006, p. 46)