We have noted a number of times that Mark devotes a great deal of attention to Jesus’ ministry to the blind. Indeed, it is the twofold healing of the blind man in the center of his Gospel that serves as the metaphor for the whole narrative. In the first part of the Gospel Jesus begins to uncover the blindness of the disciples so that they perceive that Jesus is indeed the Christ. The remainder of the Gospel is the second application of Jesus’ healing touch, uncovering the further blindness of the disciples, What does it mean for him to be the Christ? What does it mean both in terms of His ministry and also in terms of their calling?

We saw this theme of blindness emerging again in the story of the disciples’ fear of the truth. After Jesus’ second declaration of His calling as the Christ, the declaration that forms the heading for this entire section, Mark notes that the disciples did not understand Jesus’ words and that they did not want to understand them – they were afraid to ask, afraid of the truth, afraid of the answer. Better not to know, they reasoned, than to face the truth.

Today we come to the story of the Rich Young Ruler, a young man sincere, passionate, earnest, and blind. And his blindness elicits the sympathy, the love of our Lord. Our Lord looks upon him and loves him and endeavors to expose his blindness. But the surgery proves too painful and the man goes away sorrowful. And so Jesus remarks on the experience to his disciples, marveling at the blinding power of sin. In their turn the disciples marvel, struggling once again with their own blindness.