Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1-13A; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41
What do we see, and what do we refuse to see? Like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, we often don’t see what contradicts our preconceived notions, our prejudices, and our limited experiences. Jesus cures the blind beggar because he knows he doesn’t see. How can the man blind from birth even imagine what “seeing” might be? He knows that he is missing something and the beggar learned that help can come from an unexpected person and in an unexpected place. He is cured. After he sees he recognizes God at work.
Jesus chastises the Pharisees not because they can’t see but for being so sure that their sight is clear. They know who is good and who is bad, what is permitted and not permitted with astonishing clarity. Sometimes we share their certainty. The challenge from Jesus to us is to be a little less sure, less sure of who are the “good guys” and who are the “bad guys.” We are invited not to be so quick to blindly see the other as wrong and to see ourselves as blameless.
In this divided world, self-righteousness and blind spots can be found on all sides. If the saying, “We see from where we stand” has any validity, we must admit that we never see the whole picture. Today’s first reading reminds us that the Lord looks into the heart and therefore sees what we do not.
So, what are we to do? The readings invite us to admit our blindness, and, like the beggar, accept Jesus’ power to heal us in unusual, sometimes messy ways. Only by acknowledging our unique way of being blind and asking for help, can we be healed. If we do this, perhaps by the end of Lent, we will begin to share Jesus’ vision. We will see something of ourselves in those we call other, and something of the other in ourselves. Heal us, O God, for we frequently do not see.
–Mary Ann Daly, SC
Image: “Oh Lord, my God, I cried out unto Thee, and Thou hast healed me.” Psalm 30. Window in the Sister Mary Linehan, SC, Chapel, former St. Joseph’s Nursing Home, Yonkers (now Yonkers Gardens). Photo by R. Bechtle, SC.
Sister Mary Ann currently ministers as Assistant Chaplain at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. She formerly served as Sisters of Charity Federation Executive Director, Councilor, and novice director for the Congregation, as well as in health care mission integration, pastoral ministry, religious education, and elementary education. She is also a trained spiritual and retreat director.