The Gospel today brings a dramatic event of a born blind man, his healing, disputes, and discussions on blindness, darkness, and light. I am saddened by the habitual and as old as history perception that misfortune, poverty, and disease are signs of curse or sinfulness. Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” I ask you and me: “who sinned, my parents?”
I ask you and me: “who sinned, my parents or I for anything I don’t like in my life?” Since the birth of modern psychology it has become a fashion that “I am not OK … because my parents failed me … ” We blame our parents for not been loved, accepted, and appreciated enough. Whether it is crime, drug abuse, academic failure, or poor social mobility, we blame our parents.
We still blame this man’s (woman’s) blindness to his (her) parents or his (her) own defects or sins. We may also spiritualize blindness as an effect of the original sin. The big question is why do we always attach every issue, problem, and challenge to sinfulness? Old testament people still believe sin as the sole reason for any misfortune or evil that befalls a man (woman). It is all sin-talk.
Question: How about the lesson of Job (righteous man in the old testament) and Jesus (Job crucified)? Did Job and Jesus who suffered most sinned more than anyone us to deserve it? Actually, the failure to understand Job situation is the main reason for our failure to understand the suffering servant, Jesus when he arrived.
I believe the lesson of the righteous man, Job too was about sight; growing vision through emptiness and pain. We develop our eyes (consciousness) faster than normal during pain and suffering. After the experience, we read Job saying: “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5). I would give anything for that experience; would you?
We continue the blame of our parents and they can also blame their parents and so on till we reach to the garden of Adam and Eve. It also takes for form of “wars of generations”. Every new young generation first blames those before it to ascertain its own emergence. Right now, my children the generation digital natives are blaming us, the digital immigrants, who keep lovingly and freely slaving for our parents and slaving for them. Doubly slaving and insulted.
Most social problems are linked to bad parent-child relationships for the family is the building block of all secular and sacred institutions. Yet, parents are not nearly so much in control of that relationship as moralists assume. With modernization parents lost most of their control over their family structure, order, and functioning. The schooling and public media, particularly digital media, has taken over the parenting formation.
The main point of Jesus today, however, is not parenting. Jesus doesn’t blame parenting or jumps to sin-talk, judgement, or blame. He remains in the glory of God. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
The message of Jesus is this: each one of us is born blind (unconscious); this has nothing to do with sin, my own or those of my parents. It is an evolutionary opening of my eyes (vision, consciousness). The blind man first sees a man, then a prophet, and finally Christ in the person Jesus who healed him. The same call for you and me: Do you see the man, the prophet, and the Christ in Jesus of Nazareth?
That is not that easy; Jesus has identified himself with all humans, particularly the needy and broken. Whatever you do for them, he says, you have done it to me. Therefore, the call for you and me is to see man (woman), prophet (prophetess), and the Christ (Christess) in every male and female human among the 7 billion today. Challenging? Is your consciousness (vision) growing toward that direction?
As the master seems to keep saying: it is truly dawning when you begin to see a brother in every male and a sister in every female human because God is our Loving Father. Jesus concludes “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” We are all born blind; God forbid we may live blind and die blind (unconscious).
Why don’t those who see continue to see more? Their distorted vision blocks new vision. Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains. Amazing, sin is basically unseeing (blindness) but claiming to see (consciousness). Insight.
Let me conclude with my favorite since youth time prayer by an unknown author. I don’t pray for more light … I pray for more eyes everyday. Eyes …seeing … consciousness … vision … is dynamic; each one of us evolves in seeing under the shadow of grace – God’s gaze on you and me.
Only Sense to See
Not more of light I ask, O God, but eyes to see what is.
Not sweeter songs, but ears to hear the present melodies.
Not more of strength, but how to use the power that I possess.
Not more of love, but skill to turn a frown to a caress.
Not more of joy, but how to feel its kindly presence near,
To give to others all I have of courage and cheer.
Not other gifts, dear God, I ask!
But only sense to see
How best these precious gifts to use,
You have bestowed on me.
Through Christ, our Lord