James 1:19-27; Psalm 14(15):2-5; Mark 8:22-26
The healing of the blind man is deftly placed just before tomorrows' Gospel, in which Peter is enabled to see who Christ truly is.Pay attention to how Jesus heals the blindness. He uses physical means - crafting some kind of healing paste from spittle and dust. The healing also takes two stages. After the first, the blind man can see dimly, and reports seeing people like trees walking around (or, it could be trees walking around like people - a rather different image, but the greek could mean either). A second treatment is needed, to effect a full healing. This is unique in the synoptic Gospels - Jesus' healings are otherwise instant and complete. Mark, who always carefully structures his words, is pre-figuring the two stage revelation of who Jesus is. Tomorrow, we hear Peter exclaiming 'you are Christ, the Messiah' but it is not till later, in the court at dawn when the rooster crows, and Peter breaks down and weeps bitterly, that he fully knows what being Messiah means. Peter's in-sight into who Jesus is takes that extended time to be full - and Peter lived and worked with Jesus for several years. We might reasonably expect this to take us some time - and to become gradually more and more clear. Mark is showing us that this is OK. We get the same message elsewhere - now I see as in a mirror darkly, but then we shall see him face to face and in the light. (1 Corr 13 'Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.'.) We may well spend a lifetime looking into that mirror - we must be patient and persevere.