“I once was lost, but now am found. …….was blind but now I see”.

We are all familiar with these words of the famous hymn, “Amazing Grace”. I can’t help but think of them when I read today’s Gospel from John. We are afraid when we cannot see our way, whether it be from the darkness of night, a power outage or yes, even physical blindness. Surveys have shown that blindness is the infirmity that many Americans fear the most. In a study done by Research America, respondents said that losing vision would be equal to or worse than losing speech, hearing, memory or even a limb. No one wants to live in darkness. So, we find the story of Jesus healing the blind man very satisfying, don’t we? We feel so happy for this man whose sight was restored. We can only imagine the joy that he experienced. But that miracle, as wonderful as it was, is just one of the focal points in today’s Gospel. You know, this particular Gospel reading is long and confusing. Still, I urge you to go back an read the entire thing. It begins with the event itself, Jesus spits into His hand, makes a mud paste and smears it on the blind man’s eyes. The miracle occurs and the man is healed. But that is when pandemonium breaks out. No one can seem to figure out the “who, what or why” of the event. The paradox of this story is that the man who was once blind was then the only one who could see properly. In John’s gospel, Jesus healed the man’s spiritual blindness while the others were stuck in their questions and disbeliefs. As the story unfolds, he goes from viewing Jesus as simply a fellow human to calling Him a prophet and finally to giving a strong profession of faith: “I do believe, Lord”.

You know we are like that man. We need Jesus to bring us around and to help us see. But we are also like the Pharisees in that so many things distract us from what really matters. The Pharisees, in their hunt to weed out sinfulness, were overly concerned with the details. They were so sure of everything---that God did not work on the Sabbath, Moses was God’s only spokesman, that anyone born blind must be a sinner and God never works through sinners. So what did they do? They followed their assumptions and closed their eyes to Jesus, the face of God in their midst. Figuratively speaking, they would rather pluck out their eyes than change their point of view.

How many people do you know who are like that? We might call them “set in their ways” or “blind to change”. Many of us have a particular kind of blindness. We have microscopes to see things that are very tiny and telescopes to see distant objects but often do not see what is closest to us. We know more about the lives of celebrities than we do about our next-door neighbors or even those we call friends. We are blind to things that keep us stuck in sin. Today let us ask Jesus to heal our blindness, particularly our failure to see the things we need to change. Help us to not make bad choices but be open to the truth. Look around and see where God has been and where He is currently at work in our world. God breaks through all of our assumptions with His truth. We just have to be open to that truth.