One of the major themes of Advent and Christmas is how the light overcomes darkness. We all experience darkness in our lives, both within us and around us. News reports seem to cover nothing but gloom and even downright evil. In our families and in society misunderstanding causes alienation and isolation. Even in the Church, shadowy pockets of darkness persist, dimming the light of our witness to Christian values.
We’ve just heard how Our Lord healed two blind men, but he delays his response until they are in the best place to receive his healing touch. In the privacy of a house, he gives them the opportunity to proclaim their faith; then he touches and heals them.
In our own experience we know it takes time for our eyes to adjust to bright sunshine after being in a dull room. In much the same way it must have taken these men at least a few minutes to get used to their new vision and to make sense of what they were seeing. And so Our Lord stayed with them and helped them adjust to their new lives. But he warned them, too, not to speak too soon about what had happened to them. First, they needed to understand and come to terms with their situation more clearly.
Advent is a time of enlightenment for us too; and our growth in understanding is likely to be as gradual as it was for these men. Perhaps we notice that a word or an image keeps repeating itself in the readings at Mass or in the Office: renewal, freedom, repentance, conversion, restoration. As we ponder and meditate on these images, they can shed light on what Our Lord wants us to do.
And yet we shouldn’t be too disappointed if the results aren’t instantaneous. Our Lord has come into the world and that changes everything; but we still have to give his life time to grow and take root. How good it is to know, then, that Our Lord is always with us, teaching us and helping us to adjust to the light.