Miracle stories in the Gospels always have symbolic significance beyond the details recorded about a particular event.
For instance, the story of Jesus healing Bartimaeus, the blind man, is about more than just correcting one person’s disability, impressive as that might be. It’s about bringing light (spiritual insight) to a world walking in darkness.
This is an important point to keep in mind when reading the Bible in our own time. Ironically, after having 2,000 years to reflect upon the Gospels and their implications, we find ourselves groping through a new darkness that has descended upon the world.
Events, personalities, and assumptions we had considered basic to our moral and political heritage are being reevaluated and disparaged, even completely rejected. The latest example is removing the statue of Thomas Jefferson from in front of New York’s City Hall.
This is Thomas Jefferson we’re talking about — our third president and the author of our Declaration of Independence, the document that spells out all the principles on which our nation is based.
The criticism that prompts this action is Jefferson’s ownership of slaves. That’s an undeniable fact, of course, a fact which has long tarnished the reputation of a uniquely gifted but enormously complex man.
The Founding Fathers, among whom Jefferson is counted, were human beings who had their flaws and failings. No doubt Jefferson was as flawed as the rest. But while he was a slave-owner (common among those of his social class), he was also the man who articulated the very ideas that would eventually bring slavery to an end.
There’s an unfortunate tendency to judge the acts and standards of previous generations from the perspective of our own time. But on what basis do we assume that our current standards qualify us to call out previous wrongs?
Ours is a time when abortion is accepted, indeed advocated and encouraged. The proposed 2,500-page, so-called “infrastructure” bill even requires that abortions be paid for by public funds.
In addition, just now we face the prospect of vaccine mandates that would force us to inject unproven chemical formulations into our bodies against our will.
Do such situations not reflect a kind of slaveholding mentality?
All of this is part of the darkness that’s befallen our time, a darkness that includes a strong element of deception. Those intent on tearing down Jefferson really want to tear down the principles he spelled out in the Declaration. The attack isn’t on a historical figure, it’s an attempt to undermine our fundamental rights and deprive us of our dignity as free human beings.
The difficulty of some to see what’s happening is understandable, in a way. One tends to ask: “Why would anyone reject the principles of Jefferson and the Declaration? Who benefits from weakening the country and its ideals?”
Perhaps the answer lies in another question: How would the estimated $3.5 trillion cost of that huge “infrastructure” bill be paid for? Who would buy the treasury bonds to be issued?
The answer, of course, is other nations — primarily China, which has made clear its intention to achieve hegemony as the world’s leading economic and military power. This, by the way, is the China that’s currently threatening Taiwan, and developing hypersonic missiles and satellite-destroying weapons, that seeks to eliminate any and all opposition to its grand design.
In Scripture, darkness is associated with Satan (the Evil One, the Great Deceiver, the Prince of Darkness, the Father of Lies). The goals set by China, an avowed atheistic nation that openly persecutes religious believers in its efforts to stamp out God, suggest an affinity to do the Devil’s works, and to attract people within our own nation who are so inclined.
We cannot afford to walk in darkness. Our prayer must be that of Bartimaeus, who appealed to Jesus, begging, “Lord, let me see.”
A priest of the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, Rev. Michael P. Orsi currently serves as parochial vicar at St. Agnes Parish in Naples, Florida. He is host of “Action for Life TV,” a weekly cable television series devoted to pro-life issues, and his writings appear in numerous publications and online journals. His TV show episodes can be viewed online here.