40th Anniversary: Remembering, Transforming and Recommitting
The long gospel for the fourth Sunday of Lent, John 9:1-41, contains a number of lessons. Today what struck me was the comparison of one who is physically blind with those who arewillfully blind. Then a bit later a final thought occurred to me.
The blind man who could not see was a simple man begging at the side of the road who accepted the touch of Jesus, heard his directive and followed it. He allowed a man he did not know to put spittle-moistened clay on his eyes, listened when he told him what to do, and went to the designated place to wash it off. Returning, now able to see, he was able to find the man who had cured him; Jesus identified himself as “Son of Man.” Now he could joyously see not only line, shape, and color, but also he knew that he had seen his savior.
The blind men who refused to see were those Pharisees who did not accept the touch of Jesus, refused to hear the messages Jesus gave about the hypocrisy of their distorted values, and continued to challenge the teachings of this healer before them. ThesePharisees preferred power to service, falsehood to truth, self-righteousness to humility and went away still blind with jealousy, prejudice and anger.
Let’s face it: we all have blind spots now and then. The essential question is not whether or not I am blind, but what is the cause of my blindness and what will I choose to do about it.
If I cannot see something or someone because I have not been previously exposed to the truth and, therefore, lack understanding, then when the Spirit prompts me to get involvedin a learning situation, I know what I must do. I must be open to God’s touch even if it muddies me for a while, and I must go where the Spirit tells me to go. I will find that my perspective changes when I gradually open myself to the new, when I go beyond my comfort level of usual associates and friends andallow myself to get to know someone of a different race or religion or culture or sexual preference or identity or social classor whatever obstacle that is currently limiting my vision. Not only can I learn a great deal from those I may come to meet in the process, but my new associates may become a grace for meonce I can really see from their perspective.
On the other hand, if I refuse to see the stereotypes and prejudices that I have unconsciously embraced and allow these to dominate my thinking and my choices, then they will eventually destroy my ability to recognize the blessings that I am rejecting. I will be left empty and dissatisfied and angry andblind.
After having spent time with the gospel, I then picked up the newspaper and was reminded that personally I believe that people are basically good and show their true colors in times of crisis. Spirit inspired inclusivity, generosity and compassiontend to be especially evident now with the coronavirus pandemic. May we continue to be numbered among those whosee and respond to the needs and inherent dignity of each person we can assist in some way regardless of the previous blind spots we may have had.