The newborn baby lifts one brow, attempting to open her eye, only to surrender, and the lid relaxes. She then raises the other eyebrow, but without victory. Desperate to see, her entire forehead forms a wave of wrinkles, and slits appear. For one moment, her eyes open, as if peering through a blind, and then shut, for the light can be too painful. Yet Jesus came to open eyes, to bring light and to reveal truth — no matter the cost.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus cures the man born blind. The Pharisees attribute the blindness to the man’s sins; Jesus counters, the miracle was “so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” Jesus, the Light of the World, desires for us to see as God sees, for “man sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Our sin, our spiritual blindness, results from our inability to “see” as God sees — in our judgments, prejudices, superiority. But God sees the heart: one’s intentions, longings, struggles, heartaches, cares, loves. Jesus continuously convicts me of my spiritual blindness — my sin — my inability to “see” as God sees.
He’s intimidating, with piercings and tattoos, and though my friend embraced him, I judged him as a rough character. After a few more experiences, I began to “see” what my friend saw — a beautiful, loving, self-sacrificial man who goes out of his way, at great personal cost, for others. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
A teenager squirmed in his desk and distracted classmates. When I commented, his teacher told me of this young man’s struggle with ADHD. “But he has a heart for the poor and gives his all for service. He’s a great kid!” She sees into his heart. Mea culpa. Mea culpa.
In counter to my spiritual blindness, an acquaintance wrote about a mutual friend’s 20/20 eyesight: “This woman is one of the most loving, caring and compassionate people I know. She sees the good in people even when they cannot seem to see it themselves.” Yes, Mary Kay always sees as God sees, looking straight into the heart!
Spiritual blindness runs rampant in our country, exhibited through angry words, racial slurs, demeaning comments and discriminatory actions. We are blind when we judge another’s worth through our sight rather than God’s lens. Living with clouded vision or blind spots leads to judgments based on appearances or actions, rather than looking into the heart.
As parents/grandparents, we name grace — God’s perfect vision — when we value the worth of each human person. We adjust our children’s vision by helping them to look past a classmate’s color, clothing, economic status or quirks. We teach them to see as God sees by listening to another in trying to understand his or her life. We open our children’s eyes by attending to the suffering of others.
Though newborns strain to open their eyes, parents pray their children will have full vision. If not, the child will trip, bump and crash through life — hurting one’s self and others. Jesus Christ came into the world to enlighten us — to give us 20/20 vision — to see as God sees. Each time we come to the Eucharist, Jesus grants us grace — his vision — to love as he loves. Now, that’s good news!
In what ways am I spirituality blind? What are my blind spots?
How will I help my child to see as God sees?
Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To read more reflections or to connect with Mary Pedersen: www.marypedersen.com.