The question of whether being born blind was the result of the man’s personal sin or the sins of his parents had committed seems out of place in our times and in our culture. We who try to see God’s providence in all things, even the small ones, in our lives are strengthened by this story.
Jesus makes it clear that the man was born blind so that he (Jesus) had the opportunity to show the power of God operating in this world. Who then was given the gift of sight? Who would you say received the greater gift that day? The young man or the Apostles?
We might ask who is truly blind in this story. The physical blindness experienced by the young man must have been very difficult for it is clear from the story that he had to resort to begging to make ends meet. And, yet, his plight seems minimal compared to the situation in which the critics of Jesus find themselves. When we hear the questions of the critics of Jesus, we realize who was really blind. These questioners should have been praying for the gift of sight to accept Jesus as a prophet, but instead, they had no desire at all to have their own blindness cured; they had no eyes ready to see God’s power in action. Perhaps we are like those questioners.
- Where do you find yourself in this passage? With the parents? With the crowd? With the apostles? As the blind man? Why?
- At this point in Lent we are challenged to ask for the grace to be freed of the blindness of our sinfulness. What particular blindness are you still subject to – a prejudice, a failure to see good in someone, a failure to appreciate the gift of sight, choosing to reject the insights of others? What special freeing grace do you wish to ask for – at this time?