Last week’s gospel about the woman at the well has a lot in common with today’s gospel on the man born blind. First, in both cases, Jesus takes the initiative….He reaches out first. Second, in both instances, Jesus breaks the law. Last week it was not normal for a Jew to stop at a Samaritan town.
It was against the law for Him to be alone with this woman. Especially, a woman of her reputation. And Jesus and Samaritans never would share a cup. She even says, you, a Jew ask me for a drink, you do not even have a cup. In the case of the blind man, Jesus is breaking the most sacred rule of the Jews. He heals on the Sabbath. Blindness is difficult to cure, but, it is also difficult to diagnose.
One man brushes his young daughter away when she wants to show him her school work. Can’t you see I am trying to watch the game? Another father is so overwhelmed by his love for his daughter, he writes the song “Isn’t she lovely” in her honor. His name is Stevie Wonder, the blind singer. Which man truly sees his daughter, which man is blind? A man ignores his wife, she wants to know if he still thinks she is attractive.
She wants to talk to him, wants him to listen to her, his response is…have you washed my golf shirt yet? Another husband is so overwhelmed by his love for his wife that he writes her a love song. “You are so beautiful to me, you are everything I hoped for. You are everything I need…you are so beautiful to me.” That song was written by another blind artist, Ray Charles.
Which man truly sees his wife….which man is blind? A woman sits in church during Mass. The Word of God is spoken, the bread of life is broken. She is thinking, I wonder what I should fix for lunch. Just look at that woman’s coat. I bet it is not real fur. Another woman sat in church, she was blind from birth. Her name is Fanny Crosby, she later wrote these words about the mass.
“Perfect submission, perfect delight visions of rapture now burst on my sight. Which woman truly experienced worship? Our gospel text features this very same irony concerning blindness in its various forms. A man is born blind but healed by Jesus. The Pharisees are born sighted but move to spiritual blindness.”
And, so we ask in this gospel who is truly blind? And what kind of blindness is hardest to heal. You notice how many times in this chapter, that someone begins a statement with the phrase…we know. But in truth, they did not know and all through the story w see the Pharisees become increasingly blind. Blind to the Son of God who stood in front of them.
This is the hardest blindness to heal, not the man blind from birth, but the men blind by choice. Why would anyone choose to be blind by choice? Perhaps, because you can get used to the darkness, just as you can get used to the light. Many of us have blind spots, blind to racial prejudices, blind to what goes on in the company we work for.
Blind to the needs of others especially those closest to us. There was another time that Jesus cured a blind man. The man knelt before Jesus and spoke a prayer. That we might want to whisper now and again. He simply said, “Lord let me see. Let me see the things I need to see, the people I may have hurt, the wrongs I have done. Let me see your goodness to me. Let me experience your love for me. At all times in all places, Lord let me see.”