Today’s gospel tells of another one of Jesus’ great acts of kindness. Imagine being blind from birth. We’d have no sense of color, no idea of the beauty of the world around us, no idea of what our loved ones looked like, no idea of how we looked. What a shock this blind man must have had when sight shattered his darkness and for the first time he saw. He saw the sun, the sky, he saw his parents, and he could put faces to the voices he’d been hearing for years. He saw the temple.
The saddest part today’s gospel is the resistance the authorities put up against this wonder staring them in the face. The Pharisees kept insisting, “tell us again what he did to you,” and no matter how many times he retold his story they won’t accept the fact that a man blind from birth could now see. “How did this Jesus accomplish such a wonderful miracle?” The man’s tart reply is: “I told you already and you did not listen. Do you need to hear it again? Or is it that you want to be his disciples, too?” The Pharisees are outraged and they begin insulting the man. They even dragged his parents into it all. When this good man tried to reason with them all he could say was, “never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of one born blind. If this man were not from God he could do nothing.” For such bold testimony he was driven out of the synagogue.
We all know the saying, ‘there are none so blind as those who will not see.’ We know too that we all have our blind spots; we all know there were times when we refused to see what was staring us in the face. Prejudice and bias blind us to the good there is in people of other faiths, cultures or life styles. Bigotry blinds us to the enrichment immigrants bring to our Canadian culture. How often are we blind to the goodness that is in ourselves?
In our Lenten retreat and through Lent 4.5 we were offered new sight so that we can look with clear vision into the ecological and environmental issues of our time. We’ve been given insight into how our use of energy, our buying habits our waste products impacts on the health of planet earth and on our health as well. We constantly have to remind ourselves that the earth does not belong to us; we belong to the earth and what we do to the earth we do to ourselves. These insights challenge us to change, to change our lifestyles, to change our buying habits, to change the way use the gift of God’s good creation. We can be like the obstinate Pharisees and refuse to see the beauty and the woundedness of Earth. Like the Pharisees we can chose to be blind rather than see the wonderful works of God’s creating hand done before our very eyes.
We were blessed to have Dr. David Suzuki visit St. Gabriel’s School this past week. At one point in his talk you could see his frustration at the unwillingness of our present government to see and act on the environmental issues facing our country,
In this very Mass where we celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus God offers us sight and insight into how precious we are to God and how loved we are by our God, Who did not spare His Own Son but gave Him up for us all.
I recently read an article by a man who described how he was wrapped up in his own little world of worries and disappointments. He wrote of how he turned a street corner and there was a blind beggar holding a sign that read, “its spring and I’m blind but you enjoy the day.” That simple sign shocked him into seeing just how blest he was.
As we continue to celebrate this Mass we can pray for ourselves and for each other that we come to appreciate the gift of sight with which we have been blessed, we pray too for the gift of insight, insight into the goodness of ourselves and the goodness of others, insight into how to improve the way we live on Earth and courage we need to work toward the healing of Earth and the healing of ourselves.