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Here and Now

When the Lord was baptized, a voice came from heaven saying “This is my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” There could hardly be a more important message than this identification of Jesus, could there?

But why did this important message come through a voice from heaven? A voice from heaven can be heard only by those who are there then. What about everybody else? Surely it is important for all human beings to know that Jesus is God’s beloved Son.

Where the Lord is concerned, you stand out as the particular person you are.
And the same sort of puzzle arises from the First Reading. It says that the Messiah will open the eyes of the blind, and the Gospels testify that Christ really did so. But he opened the eyes of only a few blind people, those blind people who were there then. What about all the other blind people, in other places, in other times? Why didn’t Jesus just heal all blindness everywhere with one impersonal command: let all the blind people of the world be healed?

And so here is one thing we can learn from these Readings. In the voice from heaven, in the miracles of Christ, God shows that he is committed to the good of particularity. God does not send the news about the Messiah as an impersonal message directed impartially to all humankind. He identifies Jesus as his Son by a voice from heaven heard by particular people at a particular time. Similarly, Christ does not issue an impersonal decree about nameless blind people taken as a group. Christ heals some particular blind people who happened to be at a particular place at the particular time when Christ was also there.

So you might feel that you are just an unnoticed member of your company or an invisible one of the many ordinary people in your town. But where the Lord is concerned, you stand out as the particular person you are. God does not deal with people as faceless members of a collective. He calls, and he heals one particular person at a time, as each individual comes to him.

But then you yourself—not your Church or your group, but you—need to come to the Lord, to face him, to know him, to love him, and to let him heal you. Come as yourself, as you are, here and now.

Eleonore Stump
Eleonore Stump is Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University

Art by Martin (Steve) Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go