(June 10)

Then they reviled him and said, ‘You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.’ The man (the one healed from blindness) answered and said to them: ‘Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! …If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.’ They answered and said to him, ‘You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?’ And they cast him out.” (Jn 9)

After the man born blind was empowered by our Lord to see, he is “cast out” or excommunicated by the Pharisees. Why? Because blind men were useful to their agenda, while “seeing” ones were not. This reminds me of the priests in my Russian Orthodox Church who are being defrocked and/or removed from their parishes by Moscow Patriarch Kirill, because they do not participate in his willful blindness. It also reminds me of my own intolerance for people who don’t see things my way.

But let’s get back to the Pharisees of old, who cast out the man healed from blindness. Note that they say precisely the opposite of what Christ said, about the man’s birth. The Lord said that “neither this man nor his parents sinned,” that he was born blind (Jn 9:3), while the Pharisees say, “You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?” They do not share Christ’s vision of people, and this makes them unteachable, in the moment when they could have learned learn something new and important from a fellow human being who knew more than they. Arrogance and self-sufficiency keep them blind, both to their own blind spots and to the vision of others.

Lord, help me to see a little bit more as You see all of us, today. We are all “born blind,” in need of Your grace and of being born “from above,” in Holy Baptism and in the growth that it entails, as we walk our cross-carrying journeys. Help all of us to remain teachable, particularly in this election year, as we bear the cross of our common human blindness-es.