Eyes of Faith (from my book ‘A Shepherd’s Voice’, 2007)
Some years ago, I was invited by a nun to give a recollection to a group of blind people. I had to celebrate mass after the recollection and I was informed that a 10-year old blind girl would be joining us to receive her first Holy Communion. Before the mass started, the nun introduced Joan to me. She was a beautiful girl who wore a white dress and very dark sunglasses to hide a certain deformity that could be seen in her eyes. She has been blind since birth but the smile on her face revealed her eagerness to receive Jesus.
As a way of establishing rapport with Joan, I asked her, “Joan, kilala mo ba ako?” (Do you know me?) She responded by saying, “Opo, sabi ni Sister, pari raw kayo.(Yes, the nun said you are a priest.) I smiled and then instructed her to sit somewhere in front of the altar to facilitate the easy reception of the Eucharist. The nun guided her to a chair and we began the mass. All throughout the celebration I observed Joan‘s active participation in the singing and in the responses during the mass. And when the time for communion came, I approached Joan to give her the sacred host. Before giving her communion, I asked her, “Joan, kilala mo ba kung sino ang tatanggapin mo?” (Do you know whom you will be receiving?) Without any hesitation, she said, ―Si Hesus po.” (Yes, he is Jesus.) Then I said, “Joan, the Body of Christ.” With a glow in her face, she replied, “Amen.” The nun by her side guided her open hands. I put the host on the palm of her right hand and she used the fingers of her other hand to take the host so as to put it in her mouth. Joan received her first Holy Communion. Afterwards, she was guided back to her chair where she stayed in silence.
As I looked at Joan during those moments, I no longer saw her blind. I realized that she was able to see. Perhaps she did not have normal physical eyesight, but she had something more which not all people have. She had “eyes of faith”!
Our gospel today narrates another resurrection appearance of the Lord. Unfortunately, when He showed Himself to His disciples, Thomas was not there. The disciples tried to convince Thomas that Jesus was alive and has risen. But Thomas refused to believe. He needed proof. It took another appearance of Jesus before Thomas himself to convince him. Jesus had to tell Thomas: “You believed because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20: 29)
The Risen Lord appears to us in every moment of our daily lives. He shows Himself in the ups and downs of life, in the persons we encounter each day and in the many events of life that come our way. Most of all, He appears to us lovingly present in the Eucharist. We are blessed because we have not seen but continue to believe.
Joan saw the Lord with her eyes of faith. Like the disciples who encountered Jesus, may we, too, with our eyes of faith always exclaim: “We have seen the Lord!”
Share this insight during this glorious season of #easter