This weekend we hear the story of Jesus healing the man who was blind from birth. The disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Their question innocently reflects the accepted wisdom that presumed some sin, either of the individual or his parents, was the root cause of physical hardships like blindness. Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” Jesus heals the man and at that point his faith journey begins.
Through this journey the man’s understanding of who Jesus is changes. First he speaks of him as “the man.” Then, under questioning from the Pharisees, he states, “He is a prophet.” Finally, after his second encounter with Jesus, “he worshipped him.” The man sees Jesus is the Messiah.
The Pharisees can’t “see” it. They say to Jesus, “Surely we are not also blind are we?” And that is their problem. There are many forms of blindness besides physical blindness. In some ways these are just as crippling. Lent is a time when we are challenged to take a look at ways we are blind. Some examples:
Selfishness blinds us to the needs of others.
Insensitivity blinds us to the hurt we’re causing others.
Snobbery blinds us to the equal dignity of others.
Pride blinds us to our own faults.
Prejudice blinds us to the truth.
Hurry blinds us to the beauty of the world around us.
Materialism blinds us to spiritual values.
Superficiality blinds us to a person’s true worth and causes us to judge by appearances.
It is not with the eyes only that we see. We also “see” with the mind, the heart, and the imagination. A narrow mind, a small heart, an impoverished imagination – all of these lead to loss of vision, darken our lives, and shrink our world.
It has been said that the greatest tragedy is not to be born blind, but to have eyes and yet fail to see. But there is an even worse situation: to have eyes and refuse to see. The latter was the situation of the Pharisees.
In Lent we are given opportunities to look and see where we might be blind and to ask Christ to heal us. Below are communal reconciliation services that are occurring in our deanery:
April 2 St. Bridget Parish in Pleasant Hill
April 6 Our Lady of the Presentation Parish
April 7 Holy Spirit Parish
April 9 St. Robert Parish in Blue Springs
Each of these services begins at 7:00 p.m. There are also opportunities for the sacrament every Saturday from 4:00 – 4:30 p.m. I encourage you to celebrate this sacrament sometime this Lent.