I have heard teachers say recently that they notice their students don’t make eye contact so much with other students as in days gone by, because their eyes are more often staring at their cell phones or computers. We learn a lot about other people’s feelings, ideas, and status from looking into their eyes. There is an implicit—although, perhaps, fleeting intimacy established when we look into another person’s eyes. We gain a certain sensitivity, a particular perspective. Cell phones and other technology are helpful but impersonal machines, even as we are using them to text or face-time with others.
What got me thinking about eyes today? In the passage from St. Matthew’s Gospel (7:1-5) read in today’s liturgy, Jesus talks about the splinter in another’s eye versus the wooden beam in one’s own eye. Splinters and beams block our vision and our judgements of what truth is. Prejudice, past experiences, and our own understanding can cloud our vision and our relationships with our brothers and sisters.
First, we have to make the effort to establish eye contact, and then we have to consider just how clear and pure that contact is. Eye intact can lead to I contact that can be be rewarding for both parties.
These thoughts about eyes were also fueled by today’s reading from the Second Book of Kings (17:5-8, 13-15a, 18), especially verse 18 which reads,
…till, in his great anger against Israel, the Lord put them away out of his sight.
Only the tribe of Judah was left.
Those stiff-necked Israelites did not see things as God wanted them to see; they were not obeying God and he punished them by putting them “out of his sight.”.
I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to look into Jesus’ eyes when he was teaching and healing during his public ministry. I think about how Jesus restored sight to the blind. What if the first thing a cured person saw was Jesus?
The first reading for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, which we celebrated this past weekend (1 Corinthians 11:24-26) recounted the institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper. Imagine the love in Jesus’ eyes as he gave his disciples and us the means to receive him as spiritual nourishment. The I contact, the intimacy with Jesus, is a phenomenal gift that we should never take for granted.
Let us pray today that we may have clearer, more Christ-focused sight. May we see past worldly things and draw closer to our Savior and his vision of love.
Open my eyes, that I may consider the wonders of your law. (Psalm 119:18)
Painting, detail from The Face of Jesus, by Carl Heinrich Bloch (1834-1890).
Scripture passage is from The CatholicStudy Bible: New American Bible, New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.