Well, that’s a nice, long Gospel. So, I’m going to give you a break and be very brief. Obviously, the Gospel is about sight. Jesus gives the blind man the gift of sight. It’s a great story and I encourage you to reread it at home, looking for all the literary devices that John uses to bring the story to life. But I want to look at the broader message of the set of readings today.
In it’s own way, the first reading, from the Book of Samuel is also about sight. The Lord sends Samuel to the house of Jesse to chose His king. Samuel makes the trip to Bethlehem and Jesse brings his sons in for Samuel to make his choice. But something’s wrong! None of the seven sons that Jesse introduces to Samuel is the right one! Samuel asks Jesse, “Is this it? Are these all your sons?”
“Well,” Jesse says. “There is another one. But it’s just David. He’s out tending the sheep.” Samuel wants to meet him. So, they go get David, and we already know how it’s going to turn out. David’s the one. Samuel anoints him with oil and from that day on he’s filled with the Holy Spirit.
Jesse has been suffering from a different kind of blindness. He’s failed to see the potential for greatness in his youngest son. And, aren’t we all guilty of that kind of blindness? How many times have we been in the presence of greatness and not recognized it? Maybe the person is the wrong color, or the wrong nationality, or maybe he (or she) doesn’t dress the way we think they should dress. So we write them off because they don’t fit our ideal of how greatness looks. That’s a different kind of blindness.
Jumping back to the Gospel, we see that the Pharasees are afflicted with another kind of blindness. They said, speaking of Jesus, “This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Seriously? Jesus has just performed a miracle. He’s made a blind man see. People will be talking about it for thousands of years. But all the Pharisees see is that Jesus has broken one of their rules. They fail to see what’s right in front of their noses because, as leaders of the religious community, they’re threatened by the Son of God who makes them look bad by performing such a great act on the Sabbath, breaking one of the rules they’re supposed to enforce.
I think the message God’s giving us today is that we have to learn to see as God sees. He doesn’t care what we look like or how we dress. He doesn’t care if we’re black or white, American or Irish or Czech, beautiful or plain. He cares about what’s inside each of us and He loves us because He created us.
The worse case of this particular kind of blindness happens when we look in the mirror. So often we don’t see ourselves as God’s children. We hope to see the kind of perfection that society tells us we should see. But what we really see is a creature created by the Almighty God, put on earth for a reason with any number of physical flaws. We all have our jobs to do, our roles to fill, whether we see it or not.
There has never been anyone in the entire history of the world exactly like each of us and there will never be again. Our calling is to figure out what He wants us to do and then to do it. When we fail to see the saint looking back at us from the mirror, we’re suffering from a kind of spiritual blindness. But like Jesus restored the physical sight to the blind man, He can restore our spiritual sight if we just believe in Him.