Here is this week’s reflection.
Every time I read this weekend’s Gospel, I am struck by what Jesus tells the disciples about the reason for the man’s blindness. In an age where physical impairments were seen as a sign of sin and failure at some point in the family’s history, Jesus tells the disciples that the man was born blind “so that God’s works might be revealed in him.” This simple statement of Jesus has huge implications for the way in which we approach persons with disabilities in our day and age.
Often, there is a tendency in our society to marginalize those with disabilities- to think that they are somehow “less than” simply because of a physical or cognitive malady. Certainly, this is what the pharisees do to the man born blind in the Gospel, even after he has been healed of his blindness. He is still labeled a sinner, and the Pharisees refuse to listen to him, simply because they don’t like what he is saying.
And yet, it is the man, healed of his blindness, who possesses great spiritual insight, and is able to truly see who Jesus is, and why Jesus was able to heal him of his blindness. The man has great wisdom, which he tries to convey to the Pharisees. Sadly, the Pharisees shut him out, and refuse to listen. In doing so, the Pharisees reveal that they are the ones who are truly blind- their physical sight may be ok, but they lack true Spiritual vision, and are unable to see God, present in their midst.
If we consider how this Gospel applies to our lives, we are left with some very real questions. Do we allow ourselves to see God at work in all things? Or do we allow our spiritual blindness to keep us from seeing God, simply because we have already judged who is and is not worthy of speaking to us about spiritual realities? This Gospel serves as a reminder to us that all people are called to reveal the works of God in and through our lives. It challenges us to combat the stigma that often surrounds disability, and to make sure that we do not marginalize or exclude persons with disabilities from the Christian life.
As we go through this week, I encourage you to spend some time in prayer, asking God to help you to truly open the eyes of your heart, and to give you true spiritual sight, so that you can see the world as God sees it. May this spiritual sight help us all to be beacons of mercy and compassion to those who are in need, and to truly recognize God’s presence in all people.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB