I have always found it fascinating when the Sunday Gospel tells of a miracle. In the New Testament there are listed 39 miracles attributed to Jesus. Many are familiar to us such as the Wedding at Cana; feeding of the 5 thousand with a few loaves of bread a few fish-with food left over to fill 12 baskets. Today we hear of Jesus curing the man who was blind from birth.
Whenever we have a patient die at the hospital we discuss with the family of the deceased their wishes concerning organ donations. Based on the cause of death and the age of the deceased some organs are not suitable for donation. If there is time to prepare for death there is usually time to discuss this well in advance of the moment of death---in the E.R. where unexpected death happens it is a challenge to discuss this topic in a sensitive fashion. We had a man come to one of our monthly meetings to share his experience with us. Like the man in the Gospel today he was blind from birth. I tried to relate to him in understanding that what I have seen in my life he had never seen. He was married and had 2 children. He related to us how he had "brailled" his wife and children. He had tried to understand through touch the outline of his family---their face, ears, eyes, and hair. As medical technology developed he was asked if he wanted to try bilateral corneal transplants---be a recipient of organ donations. Of course he said yes. With tears streaming down his face and his voice crackling, he related to us what he felt the first time he could see his wife and children. He could see her---what he had touched and smelled he could now see. What was only hoped for was now a reality. I have never forgotten him and his sharing of his life with us.
Let's look again at the man born blind mentioned in the Gospel of John this morning. The man who was healed of his blindness is eternally grateful to Jesus for his healing. This healing is not only the physical healing of blindness but also the spiritual healing that he needed. All of his friends were asking where Jesus was so they perhaps could also be healed of their blindness. They believed what they saw and sought Jesus out.
The Pharisees were mad at Jesus because he healed on the Sabbath-which was against the Law. Jesus must be a sinful man if he healed on the Sabbath. They never did get the message of Jesus nor did they believe in his healing. They missed the whole point of the miraculous healing as they were more concerned that Jesus healed on the Sabbath---this was in violation of the Letter of the Law. They were interested in entrapment not enlightenment; in deterrents not discoveries; in exclusion not inclusion. They began to show their fear of Jesus and how he was freeing the people who simply believed in him. They tried to discredit Jesus rather than embrace Jesus.
The Pharisees of today spend time regulating people's lives by trying to enforce the outdated laws that have lost any meaning they may once have had. They find fault with communities gathering for prayer; accepting all people to the table of the Eucharist; being accepting rather than judgmental; being welcoming rather than excluding; calling forth to ministry those Jesus has called rather than only those they have called; seeing God in everyone rather than only a few they select; accepting marriage and ordination as compatible for ministry rather than hindering ministry; today as 2000 years ago many Pharisees reject Jesus and His ministry as it is too challenging for them and may require them to change from their preconceived ideas. The Pharisees thought certainly the man born blind must have sinned or his parents sinned rather than seeing his situation as a vehicle to show how God is present in everyone. This man was used by Jesus to show others what faith can produce. Jesus anointed him with simple mud, he washed in the pool and immediately his sight was restored.
Jesus comes into our life as well to not only heal us of our physical illnesses but to also heal us of our spiritual blindness. What are the blind spots in your life? What causes you not to see all that God is revealing to you? Do you depend on the Letter of the Law to give direction to your life or do you turn to the healing freedom of the presence of God in your life?
Once we are healed of our blindness, we will be able to see the presence of God within all people those- we know and those we don't know- those we like and those we don't like. We will be able to see to the depths of our heart and look beyond the shallow surface for it is at the shallow surface that so many of the issues which separate people from each other seem to fester.
Like the blind man whom I met at the hospital when our spiritual blindness is healed what we have hoped for-seeing the pure glory of God in everyone-will become a reality