What does it take to make us see? In our world of visual abundance,
images of beauty and horror overload our senses daily. Over-
whelmed and overstimulated, we quickly glance at what deserves
more steady attention. We brush shoulders with people without
looking deeply into their faces or appreciating the joys they celebrate
and the burdens they bear. We don’t see who they really are or know
the dreams they want to fulfill.
Jesus’ early ministry attracts growing crowds of enthusiastic followers. They follow him for varied reasons. His words contain a unique message of hope. His acts of healing reveal remarkable power in the service of love. His look of compassion is magnetic, as he “saw into the depth of human souls, / Souls that appear to have no depth at all / To careless eyes” (William Wordsworth, The Prelude). Jesus sees people whom others fail to notice. He perceives what life has done to them and acts to make a positive difference. He views people in terms of their possibilities rather than their problems.
Healing Peter’s mother-in-law is a dramatic example of how Jesus understands human need and compassionately responds to it. This household celebrates his action and inevitably shares their exciting news. As they say what they have seen, many arrive with eager anticipation, hoping that they too might experience Jesus’ healing touch.
In the time of our society’s growing indifference to the church,
we should ask ourselves this question: What are we giving people to
see that reflects Jesus’ understanding of human need? What are we
saying and doing to heal humanity’s hurts?
Think of one or two persons whom you often see, but do not really know. What might you do to understand them better and convey kindness?
God of compassionate love, help me to see the needs of others. Open my heart that I may respond as you respond, so that I may make a difference. Amen.