OUR BLINDNESS-ES FROM BIRTH
(Saturday, May 20)
“Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’” (Jn 9:2-5)
As Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth, – while His disciples only saw a puzzling theological problem. The Lord’s response to their question, Who sinned…? and His subsequent healing of the man indicate to the disciples (and to all of us) that they asked the wrong question. Their question(s) should have been: Can we help? Or: How are the works of God being revealed in him?
I think we need to consider this approach to our own “blindness-es from birth,” or to those “blindness-es” that others in our midst might have, which make us or them different from the mainstream in some conspicuous way. Let’s say, we were never athletic, or were never good at reading or writing or arithmetic, or we were always tone-deaf and not musical, or we were really good at some one thing, like super-nerdy about studying one particular thing, but bad or entirely not interested in other things; or we were always loners and/or not “the marrying type,” for whatever reason. Do we accept ourselves and one another, as we are, with our strengths in one area and weaknesses or, if you will, “blindness-es” in other areas? Do we generally accept these common differences among us, without grappling with the theological “why?” or “why me?” or “why my child?” Or do we get on with life, and see how we can help ourselves and one another, when we can help, so that “the works of God can be revealed” in us and through us? I mean, the works of God like patience, love, compassion, humility, and, finally, Church? That final one, Church, is the sacrament of unity, revealed through the unity of many different people, as St. Maximus the Confessor writes in his Mystagogy: “For numerous and of almost infinite number are the men, women, and children who are distinct from one another and vastly different by birth and appearance, by nationality and language, by customs and age, by opinions and skills, by manners and habits, by pursuits and studies, and still again by reputation, fortune, characteristics, and connections: All are born into the Church and through it are reborn and recreated in the Spirit. To all in equal measure it gives and bestows one divine form and designation, to be Christ’s and to carry his name.”
This morning I pray, Lord, help me to accept myself and others, in our differences “by nationality and language, by customs and age, by opinions and skills, (etc.),” as St. Maximus describes us, that we may see how we, together, can work the works of You who sent us into this beautiful world.