As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” John 9:1-12
I got my first pair of glasses during my first year of college. My brother and two of my sisters needed them at a very young age but not me. I was arrogant and thought I would have great vision all of my life. As I have aged I have come to understand what a gift our sight is, and how each of us has a very different take on the world through our eyes. We often take this extraordinary gift for granted. We often turn our eyes away from the real world around us and are blinded those we chose not to see.
The disciples and Jesus encounter a man born blind. The disciples want to find the cause of this man's affliction. Jesus heals the man by making a paste of mud. Jesus blamed no one but gives the man his sight, a tremendous gift to a man who had to spend his life begging on the street as an outcast, rejected and condemned although he did nothing wrong. We often ask why some illness or affliction happens to a person and too often we judge that person. But what we are to hear and see today, is God inviting us to a place of healing at every turn and every affliction an opportunity for grace and compassion.
Today I ask God to help me have new vision. Help us to see the afflictions and challenges of this life as an invitation to compassion and love. May we be moved to prayer and kindness, love and service by what we see around us. May we not judge those who are suffering but rather offer what we can and ask God for the strength to respond.