The other day I looked into the mirror and all my face wrinkles and extra skin on my chin were gone, and I looked down and my little dog’s hunter orange coat looked clean, as did my car when I was about to get into it in spite of the fact that it had not been washed for weeks. I considered never putting on my glasses again in that the world looks so much better without them, but I was open to the fact that it is really much better to see the world as it is.
In last Sunday’s Gospel we heard of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well and she was open to recognize him as the Christ, and in today’s Gospel the blind man’s physical and spiritual eyes were opened by way of Jesus’ actions. Both of them experienced a progressive eye opening experience as evidenced by the words they used to describe Jesus. As you remember the woman first called Jesus a Jew, then she called him sir and finally she called him the Son of Man. In today’s Gospel the man went from calling Jesus a prophet, then a man of God, and finally the Son of Man. Even though both of them experienced the removal of their blindness, the woman’s actions and words resulted in the conversion of not just herself but of her entire Samaritan community whereas the curing of the blind man caused him to be excommunicated from his faith and his community. The Samaritan woman’s blindness and that of her community were cured whereas in the case of the blind man, his blindness was cured but the blindness of his community remained. The woman’s Samaritan community possessed open minds whereas the minds of the Pharisees in the man’s community remained closed. They refused to open their minds and recognize Jesus’ actions as the work of God but rather saw them as a violation of the letter of the Jewish Law. As a result their blindness to Jesus as the Messiah remained, essentially saying, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.”
In what ways has our country been spiritually blind? The culture in this country has been, in the past has been open to many injustices such as slavery, racial discrimination, the right to vote, discrimination against women, the handicapped and the like but to a degree many of these blindness have been removed or are at least being gradually reduced by this country by opening its mind to the fact that these are truly injustices and violate our Christian values.
And as a result, opening our country’s eyes to recognize that we are all created equal, but different in the eyes of God, and that all are deserving of equal treatment and equal opportunity.
Just as our country has been spiritually blind, you and I are as well spiritually blind to a certain degree. Just as the Pharisees, we have or pride and prejudices but we have distinct advantage. We have Christ, the Son of God, the Light of the World who came to rescue each of us from our blindness by providing us with his truths and by providing us with the best example of how we are to live, loving God and loving others as Jesus loves us. Without Jesus we have a tendency not to be open and choose to be as blind as the Pharisees were, our minds darkened and often say by our words and actions say, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made us.”
We all say that we do follow Jesus, but if that were totally true, we would be without prejudices and wouldn’t be hindered by our pride, but we know, if we are honest with ourselves, admitting that we do have prejudices and are often hindered by our pride.
So, where do we go from here? If we desire to be truly happy and pleasing to Jesus, we would be open to reducing our prejudices and unwarranted pride but, we need help. As often as each of us have tried to do that alone in the past, but both pride and prejudices are still with each of us and if we are honest with ourselves we recognize we can’t do it alone, it takes God’s help. He is always there ready to help just as he was for the Woman at the Well and for the Man Born Blind. Just as was true for them, all we need to do is ask God for the help we need to be open to his help and trust him. The more we trust in God the more our eyes are open, not just to his working in our lives but as well our personal recognition of our openness to prejudices and unwarranted pride. To remove the blindness to who we really are, it is necessary to recognize God’s actions in our lives and to know ourselves it takes frequent and almost continuous conversation with God, prayer.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being the Light of the World. Strengthen my openness to you and trust in you so that my eyes may be open to my prejudices and pride. Please provide me with the willingness, openness and ability to eliminate my prejudices and minimize my pride.