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Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

James 1:1 9-27 & Mk. 8:22-26

There was once a travelling salesman who arrived in a town very late at night. The only accommodation he could find was in a cheap, shabby boarding house. The landlady showed him to his room and said, "Oh, by the way, I hope you have a good memory for faces - there's no mirror in the bathroom!"

Do we really take a good look at ourselves and act upon what we see? This is what St. James is asking us in the first reading. If we see the truth of Christ's teaching and believe in Him, then we must demonstrate that faith in the way we behave. A person whose faith is not practical is like a man who knows what he looks like by seeing himself in a mirror but then goes off and promptly forgets what he has seen.

The Gospel story shows Jesus helping a blind man to see. This story comes at an important point in St. Mark’s narrative, at a time when the disciples seemed to be attempting to see just who Jesus was. Immediately after this incident, Peter was to make his declaration of faith, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus was loving and patient in His treatment of the blind man. He took his hand and led him away from the village to a quieter place where they could be alone together away from curious onlookers. He did not leave him until the cure was complete and the man could see perfectly clearly.

If we put our faith in Jesus, He can help us to see everything more clearly. We learn to know Him better, and we learn to see ourselves, with all our strengths and weaknesses. As St. James explains, it has to be an honest examination, without any self-deception. Only by seeing inside ourselves, with Jesus' help, can we begin to make changes and try to do away with our bad habits. Like the blind man who was cured, we shall have a totally different approach to life. What we have seen with the eyes of faith we must put into practice in our lives. If we are not doing that, we are like the man who glanced in the mirror and promptly forgot what he looked like.

Lord Jesus, open our eyes to see Who You are and to follow You whole heartedly.

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