THE BLIND MAN
Today is the second of the great baptism trilogy of Lenten catechesis readings.
Basic teaching encounters of Jesus with the woman at the well (water & light), the man born blind (healing & (in)sight) and Lazarus (faith & love that brings new life).
As Jesus passed by he saw a man, blind from birth, and being moved to compassion, Jesus made an ointment of earth and spittle, put it on the man’s eyes and sent him to the pool to wash his eyes. The man went and washed and he returned able to see. A miracle, yes, but now all the other characters in the parable are BLIND TO THE REAL TEACHING . Now the questioning and doubting and accusations begin (like a mini inquisition) among all the authority figures: the Pharisees, the parents, the disciples, etc.
As Joan Chittister, OSB once said about this reading: Everybody in the story is blind.
The Pharisees—the keepers of the rules only know this happened on the Sabbath and seek to disbelieve vs confirm. The parents believe but are fearful of being ejected from the Synagogue so choose to put the burden of proof on their son vs rejoicing and celebrating their son’s healing. Even the disciples are caught in the mentality of whose sin is his blindness- a punishment for vs the healing power of Jesus’ touch.
The neighbors only give lip service to the changes they notice. Yes, all are blind in some fashion. Thus, as with the Samaritan woman who had a great transformation and the leaders questioned all the wrong validation reasons, so, here, too, we have a great healing and transformation and the leaders are looking at all the wrong validation reasons…i,e, it happened on the Sabbath and therefore couldn’t be real. A great encounter but who was blessed and transformed?
It’s easy for us in our little world to look back and point fingers and say, THEY were all so blind. Why couldn’t THEY see and understand? But the question for today and this week is:
WHY CAN’T I SEE AND UNDERSTAND? HOW AM I BLIND IN MY ENCOUNTERS WITH JESUS? HOW DO I ARGUE and DISBELIEVE JESUS’ HEALING TOUCH IN MY DAILY PASCHAL JOURNEY? HOW CAN I NAME AND CLAIM MY OWN BLINDNESSES AND BRING THESE TO TRANSFORMATION IN MY LIFE TODAY?!
Marilyn Carpenter, OSB