Translation of the Holy Gospel According to Luke
At that time Jesus took unto Him the twelve and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the Prophets concerning the Son of Man. For He shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and scourged and spit upon: and after they have scourged Him, they will put Him to death, and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things, and the word was hid from them, and they understood not the things that were said. Now it came to pass, when He drew nigh to Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging. And when he heard the multitude passing by, he asked what this meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying: Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace. But he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus standing, commanded him to brought unto him. And when he was come near, He asked him, saying: What wilt thou that I do to thee? But he said: Lord, that I may see. And Jesus said to him: Receive thy sight, thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God
From St. Pope Gregory the Great’s Homilies 2, On the Gospels
The blind man is the human race: excluded from the joys of paradise in the person of his first father, deprived of the brightness of the light from on high, he suffers the darkness of his condemnation; but finding the light thanks to the presence of his Redeemer, he comes to perceive, by desiring them, the joys of the interior light, and he puts the step of his good works on the path of life.
It is with reason that this blind person is represented to us at the same time sitting at the edge of the road and begging, because the Truth in person said: I am the Way (Jn 14:6). He who does not know the clarity of the eternal light is therefore a blind man. If, however, he has begun to believe in the Redeemer, he is sitting by the roadside. However, if he neglects to pray and abstains from begging God to recover the eternal light, the blind man is well seated by the wayside, but he does not beg. On the other hand, if at the same time as he believes, he recognizes that his heart is blind and asks to recover the light of truth, then the blind man sits by the roadside and begs. He, therefore, who recognizes the darkness of his blindness and understands that he lacks the light of eternity, that he cries from the bottom of his heart, that he cries with all his soul and says, Jesus, son of David, have pity me!
But let us listen to what happened while the blind man shouted, Those who walked before reprimanded him to silence him.
What do those who precede the arrival of Jesus represent, if not the crowd of carnal desires and the tempest of vices, who, before the coming of Jesus in our heart, dispel our thoughts by their assaults and hinder the calls of our heart prayer? Often, indeed, when we want to return to the Lord after sinning, and strive to overcome with vices the vices of which we have been guilty, the images of our past faults are pressed into our hearts; they blunt the tip of our mind, disturb our soul and stifle the voice of our prayer. Yes, those who walked before reprimanded him to silence him, since before the coming of Jesus into our hearts, our past faults, whose memory strikes our thought, throw us into trouble in the midst of our prayer.
Let’s hear what the blind man did then, before finding the light again. The text goes on to say: But he cried out,” Son of David, have mercy on me!” See, he whom the crowd reprimands in order to silence him cries again and again; it is thus that the more the storm of carnal thoughts torments us, the more we must intensify our prayer effort. The crowd wants to prevent us from shouting, since we often suffer even in prayer the harassment of images of our sins. But it is necessary that the voice of our heart persists with all the more force that the resistance which it meets is harder, in order to control the storm of our guilty thoughts, and to touch, by the very excess of its importunity, the merciful ears of the Lord. Everyone, I suppose, has experienced in itself what I am going to say to you: when we turn our minds from this world to turn to God, and apply ourselves to prayer, here we have to endure in our prayer as an unwelcome and painful thing, the very thing we had done with delight. It is scarcely possible that the hand of a holy desire can drive out the memory of the eyes of our heart, hardly if the groans of penance can triumph over the resulting images.
But if we persevere insistently in our prayer, we stop in our soul Jesus who passes. So it is added: Jesus, stopping, asked that we bring him to him. Here he stops, he who passed: indeed, as long as the crowds of images oppress us in prayer, we have the impression that Jesus is passing; but when we persevere insistently in our prayer, Jesus stops to give us light, since God is fixed in our heart, and the lost light is restored to us.