Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blindness and Conversion

John's presentation of the Healing of the Blind Man almost reads like a comedy. Suddenly everyone seems to forget whether or not the beggar had been blind. Even the man's parents are uncertain of the fact in the life of their son.

But we have a sense of a tremendous amount of fear. The parents, we are told, fear being thrown out of the synagogue. Others in the story respond with a similar anxiety. Now the man born blind is the only one in the story who seems to show any sort of courage. We come to understand that the Pharisees have used religion as a weapon rather than an instrument of salvation.

I believe it was C.S. Lewis who reflected that Christians can be like slum children, satisfied with playing in the dirt with sticks, because they cannot even imagine a sunny day on a beach. The gospel presents us with a people who assume that blindness is somehow a curse from God. And God cannot do anything to change the situation - because the people of God have said so. For ourselves we might consider how good it would be to change a habit, forgive another, or even to seek forgiveness; but we are afraid of what life would be like for us if we did.

So we are satisfied living with the brokenness and unhappiness because stepping into healing and peace are unknown endeavors. More so what is expected of us if we convert and transform our lives. That is a lot of pressure.

St. Paul takes us to task today by helping us remember we are children of light. Paul himself was in the dark imposes his laws out of self-righteousness and arrogance. Seeing the light of Christ allowed him to see clearly and to believe in Jesus Christ. We are to cast off deeds of darkness and to live good and holy lives. This is not a matter of being nice to each other, it is much more than that. To paraphrase a sixties mantra, people should know we are Christian by our love.

Seeing in the light of Christ, we ought to be bold in our proclamation of faith. Despite being surrounded by folks who chase us around with pointy sticks and sharp instruments, because of what we believe, we need to all the louder proclaim, "I believe."

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