The two blind men of Jericho
Matthew wants us to reflect through this teaching to understand the plan for the coming of the Messiah.
Gospel - Matthew [20,29-34]
As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Jesus. And behold, two blind men, sitting along the road, hearing him pass by, began to cry out: "Lord, have mercy on us, son of David!". The crowd scolded them to keep quiet; but they cried out even louder: "Lord, have mercy on us, son of David!". Jesus stopped and called them and said: "What do you want me to do for you?". They said to him, "Lord, may our eyes be opened!" Jesus was moved, touched their eyes and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
Exegesis - Matthew [20,29-34]With these six verses ends Chapter 20 of the Gospel of Matthew, which is a short chapter, composed of three parts. The first part shows the parable of the owner who goes out to call the workers in the vineyard, while the second describes the request to Jesus of the mother of James and John, so that their children sit one on the right and one on the left in his kingdom and, while he says these things, the others are indignant against the two brothers: the discussion focuses on who is the greatest and Jesus never misses an opportunity to entrust his followers with another teaching, reiterating that "whoever among you wants to be in first place he will become your slave, like the Son of man who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many".
Now Matthew, at the end of the Chapter, presents to us the healing of two blind people: this parable, placed at the very conclusion of the previous teachings, seems to want us to reflect on the blindness described above, that of the workers called to the day and that of the apostles who are not yet they fully understood the plan for the coming of the Messiah. In the first blindness we find the protesting workers, who do not share the boss's choice to pay the last ones who have worked only an hour in the same way as they who have worked all day. These workers represent those who belong to the Jewish tradition and who will not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. The apostles are placed in the second blindness: it is they, who have left everything to follow Jesus, demonstrate, with the discussion about who was the first, their limitation; they have not yet understood the mystery of Jesus.
Matthew, after these two reminders, now reveals to us how to heal from such blindness: As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Jesus. And behold, two blind men, sitting along the road, hearing him pass by, began to cry out: "Lord, have mercy on us, son of David!". These blind people are not people following him, they are sitting along the road and, perhaps, it is the first time they hear him pass: this is the most shocking thing, they who cannot see him with their eyes, they can understand its mystery and they reveal it in that cry "Lord, have mercy on us, son of David!". Son of David! They recognize, even if they are blind, the Messiah! And in this cry is contained the proclamation of lordship, which means to forcefully affirm "you are truly the Son of God".
This truth will be proclaimed to the people only after the resurrection of Jesus, when Peter says: "He has ascended into heaven, he is at the right hand of God, where angels, principalities and powers are subject to him" (1 Peter 3,22). But the two blind men from Jericho anticipate the revelation that will later be known to future Christians and, imploring Jesus, it is as if they were saying "since you are the Son of God, we entrust ourselves to you, you alone can heal us!". And Jesus was moved, touched their eyes and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. These blind people, in short, retrace the call of the apostles on the part of Jesus; in fact, when Jesus passes on the shore of the lake, what do the apostles do? Without asking too many questions, without any hesitation or doubt, they leave everything and follow him.
Matthew also tells us that while the blind were shouting their request to the Lord, the crowd scolded them to keep silent; but in response they shouted even louder. This passage is wonderful because those blind people, regardless of the warnings, insist and reaffirm their certainties. Where do they get this strength from? Jesus answers us when he says: "No one can come to me unless the Father draws him" (Jn 6:44). Here Matthew does not say it explicitly, but he makes it clear: these two blind men are the indisputable proof that they are led by God; then we understand what Jesus wanted to teach his disciples when he proclaimed: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God".
The two blind men see God in Jesus in their physical blindness. But how do you recover from blindness? The answer lies in the experience of these two blind people who, having purity in their hearts, seek God because they know that only in Him can they be healed and that only in Him can they obtain the light of the soul.
We sincerely seek God and He will make Himself known: here is healing! We must have the same insistence as these two blind people despite the setbacks: there will always be someone who will want to instill doubt in you and take away hope, but when you recover from blindness, you will have peace in your heart, you will have overcome sin and you will have reached that knowledge that God reveals to you. His voice will resound "What do you want me to do for you?", "that my eyes open" and you will recover the sight that will lead you to follow him without reserve.
This is the most beautiful miracle, because it is the passage from darkness to light, it is that miracle that occurs in us when, understanding the light of everything and in everything, we rediscover the infinite love that God has for us. Jesus will hear our cry in the night, a cry that invokes mercy, so that our life can have a meaning. Our faith, that little flame of our heart, will reach the heart of Jesus and then He will act in us as in the two blind men: we will regain sight and that indispensable light to be able to follow him.