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Beware of Prosopagnosia.

Kayang-Kaya Mo Yan.
April 5, 2021
Panlabas o Panloob?
April 5, 2021
PITIK-BULAG: Beware of Prosopagnosia.

Believe it or not. There are people who cannot recognize their father or father, or their siblings, or their own children – unless they talk. This is part of everyday life for people with an incurable neurological disorder called PROSOPAGNOSIA – a FACE BLINDNESS that impairs one’s ability to recognize faces even those familiar people he or she meets every day including family members. For some of them, they find it difficult to distinguish age or gender, understand expressions or follow a person’s gaze. Some of them can’t follow movies or TV shows because the characters all look the same.

The words that struck me in our gospel today – “People immediately recognized Jesus.” Thanks be to God! It was good to see that the friends and the relatives of the sick people in our reading were able to RECOGNIZED JESUS IMMEDIATELY, and because of this, they were able to bring all their sick people where Jesus would pass by and beg for healing. Thank God, they were not sick of prosopagnosia.

But when you look at our life today. It seems that many of us are suffering from a SPIRITUAL PROSOPAGNOSIA. I hear always people telling me that they want to see Jesus or God in their life. Or individuals asking, “Where is God in the midst of our suffering?” Many of us are searching and desperately frustrated in finding God. They want to see the face of God.

Unfortunately, they cannot see the face of God in their brothers and sisters who are poor, suffering, and marginalized. If only all of us could see the face of God in their sufferings, then it would become easier for us to care and help them. Jesus said in the gospel of Matthew, “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it unto me.”

For many of us, we cannot see the face of God in our own sufferings. The Roman soldiers who saw Jesus dying on the cross recognized the face of God in Jesus when he said, “Truly, this person is the Son of God.”

I remember a friend who died of lung cancer. She suffered the pain of cancer for almost five years and yet she fought the battle well. I saw her in great pain and anguish, but I could still see her smiling in spite of everything. When she died, everybody saw a very beautiful angelic face during her wake. We saw God’s HOLY FACE in her dead body.

Do we have the eyes the see God’s SUFFERING FACE in our denuded forest or polluted river? Do we have the eyes to see God’s LONELY FACE when we failed to give quality time to our children? Do we have the eyes to see God’s TIRED FACE in our driver, kasambahay, or ordinary laborers’ face? Do we see the face of God in our enemies?

Let’s us ourselves now. What areas of my life I could say that I am suffering a partial or full-blown spiritual prosopagnosia? Do you have signs that you are already infected with spiritual prosopagnosia like being insensitive to the needs of others, being selfish or self-centered or just by being plainly unaware of the needs of your friend, neighbor, or members of the family?

Look at the face of other people. If you could not see the face of God in them, and if you could not see that they are your brothers and sisters in Christ, then you are possibly sick of spiritual prosopagnosia.

What’s the cure? The gospel said it well. Stop. And genuinely recognize the needy, the poor, the sick, and the suffering as your brothers and sisters in Christ. Then do something. Help them. Bring them to Jesus. Or bring God in them by assisting them and relieving their miseries. We are surrounded with lonely and confused souls, be sensitive to see them. It is only in caring and being sensitive to others that spiritual prosopagnosia could be healed. To see God in our needy brothers and sisters is TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD.


Have a good Monday. It’s another week of gazing attentively at each other’s face … and see the face of God!

Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 53-56

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