When a person was born with any kind of deformity, the person was considered a sinner. They could not engage in full worship at the Temple, had to keep their distance from the rest of people. The man born blind fit the category. The disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned, the blind man or his parents?” “Neither he nor his parents sinned…” Such a revelation was shocking.
Someone had to be to blame. The answer that Jesus gave was not acceptable to folks who had weighed themselves down with years of guilt. Then came the long, drawn-out interrogation of the blind man’s parents, the blind man and Jesus Himself. It’s a sad day when we have to defend a good action. We all have difficulty in accepting something for nothing—a gift of love. Notice that the blind man did not ask to be healed. He had never seen colors, or the beauty of nature, or the face of his loved ones. But he recognized the moment of favor from the Lord. With his eyes smeared with mud, the blind man went to the Pool of Siloam to wash. And he was able to see. He could have objected, stopped Jesus when he was putting mud in his eyes. Like we sometimes object to the way that God answers our prayers. Issues of control will never go away. Takes surrender, trust, a walk in faith for miracles to happen. The blind man gave himself to Divine Providence and was completely healed. The story would have ended “Happily ever after”, except for the legalistic neighbors. They wanted an analytical explanation from the man who was now able to see. Obviously, he could not explain what had happened. Unfortunately Jesus had healed him on the Sabbath, which was against the law.
The affair developed into a regular courtroom drama. The parents were brought in to give testimony. The once blind man, who was able to see was found guilty of telling the truth. The truth is not always welcomed, especially by people in power, in this case, the Pharisees. So they threw him out. The Pharisees were not willing to accept freedom—a free gift from God. Tradition had dictated that God’s love had to be earned. No one was supposed to get something for nothing. We might be tempted to look back on the street miracle and be judgmental of those who refused to accept God’s favor.
Consider that some of the same mentality has crept into our religious practices. Some folks are convinced that God is a scrupulous God, watching every move we make, keeping track of our sins. One day, when we die, He’s just going to let us have it with countless years in Purgatory or the other alternative. Meanwhile, we’ve got to try our best not to mess up, not because we love God, but out of fear. Such an attitude leads to being paranoid. In confession we want to mention every sin we can remember, and we come back, even after absolution, because we remembered something. That’s not trusting in God’s mercy, but in our own merits. The worthy/unworthy game is one that we can never win. Just like the blind man was not worthy of healing, so we are healed, over and over. Our eyes need to be opened to all that we refuse to see. People say, “You have a beautiful city. What a wonderful family you have. You are indeed blessed in your life.” We shrug our shoulders, and say, “Oh yea, thanks.” We often do not notice the good because we are too preoccupied looking at all the defects. To see the world with new eyes is a true miracle. Perhaps to spend less time wasting our eyes on mechanical devices and a little more time looking at faces would be a step in the right direction. We have only one life to live. We should not live in the darkness of resentments.
We are the blind man who can get new vision if we surrender to the moment of healing. May we see the Lord in the least among us.