In the time of Jesus blindness was regarded as a consequence of sin. Hence the question of the disciples, “Rabbi, who has sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” The blind were doubly burdened, both by their inability to see and a culture that thought they were living in a darkness they deserved.
Today’s gospel is about the cure of a man blind from birth and the blindness of those who can see. Let’s face it; most of us are probably blind to someone or something at one time or another in our lives. Our biases and prejudices are like cataracts that cloud our sight and prevent us from seeing clearly.
We can be stunned by the unwillingness of the Pharisees to see the wonder that took place before their eyes. A man born blind sees. Their blind spot was that anyone who did not keep the Sabbath could not work such a wonder. But more insightful people responded, “How could a man who is a sinner perform such signs?”
The man born blind went through his own process of seeing Jesus more clearly. He started out by saying, “this man named Jesus put mud on my eyes and sent me to Siloam” Facing the hostility of the Pharisees he saw Jesus as a prophet. Finally when he met Jesus face to face he worshiped Him as Lord. This much like our own journeys of faith. If we are open to God’s grace we can be blessed with sight and insight into our own relationship with God and how God is working in our lives even in our most difficult times.
Where are we in this gospel story? Are we the man blessed with sight or are we among those who refuse to see the wonders worked before our eyes? As I mentioned before we all have our blind spots, our cataracts. Maybe in the light of today’s gospel each one of us can echo the plea of another blind man found in another gospel story, “Lord let me see again.”
Someone wrote, “We should be able to see what our hearts have always taught us to be true: all that truly matters in life are our relationships. If we can see the bonds that are shared with family, with friends, and with members of our faith community and with God as most important, that is the first step in making those relationships better, stronger, truer. Too often we allow our jobs and other interests to stand in the way of our time together.” It would be great that, if in the light of today’s gospel story we could be touched by that healing power of Jesus and be blessed to see in a new way our family, our friends. If we could see in a new way their humanity and their preciousness and come to appreciate what a blessing they are to us and how they enrich our lives. It would be great if we were blessed with an insight into our own worth and goodness and how precious we are to God.
And what about those men and women who do not count in our eyes? The ones we chose not to see; the poor, the homeless, the immigrants, the underemployed, the handicapped. Could we be blessed to see these good people for who they are, our brothers and sisters in Christ? Lord let us see again.
As we continue to celebrate this Mass we pray for ourselves and for each other that we see with fresh eyes all those people who touch our lives, may we see with fresh eyes the great love God has for each of us as we see that love made visible in the crucified Christ, may we see with fresh eyes the beauty and the fragility of the world in which we live. Lord let us see again because there is so much to see.