Yesterday’s Gospel reading was about Jesus curing the man born blind. His neighbors, the Pharisees, and even the man’s parents didn’t like this change – it was out of the norm. Turns out the only ones who could really see were Jesus and the man. Everyone else had blinders on.
The neighbors had blinders on – the man lived in a community, but the people around him didn’t even know his name. They just knew him as the name who was blind and who begged. It would have been too messy for them to get to know him. They would have had to do something, and well, they are really busy, don’t you know. Better to just walk past.
The Pharisees had blinders on – they saw the man as a pawn. They knew what they believed and so this man could provide ammunition for them. He only mattered so long as he was useful to them – if he gave them the answers they were looking for. Their blinders were with a narrow view – right thinking and belief. Everything else outside of their purity test was messy and didn’t belong. Anyone outside of the orthodox thinking was labeled as an other and sent out and away.
The man’s parents had blinders on too – they were afraid and so they hung their son out to fend for himself. This shouldn’t be shocking though – why was the man begging at all? Apparently his own family didn’t care for him. Maybe he was the family secret that his family didn’t want to talk about.
How many of us have blinders on? How many in our society have physical sight, but are spiritually blind? We find it messy to even notice those who are begging for food – those that we pass by over and over and over again. If we found out their name, we’d feel like we’d feel like we needed to do something.
How many of us have blinders on? How many in our society see people as a pawn in a political or religious game – to be used to support our ideas and beliefs about what is right. When people are just something to be used, we’ve made our beliefs and thoughts idols where we sacrifice others at the altar of being right. All in the name of God of course. That makes it all ok right?
How many of us have blinders on? What family secrets are we hiding? What family secrets do we just not talk about? What about the family members who have committed suicide, have a drug addiction, spent time in jail, have a pornography addiction, are homosexual, have committed a sexual crime, suffer through a financial crisis, are in dangerous and abusive relationships, and more? It’s not polite to talk about these things and people. We might feel the need to do something about it – so much better to keep the blinders on and not see them or talk about them.
Yet Jesus takes the blinders off our eyes. He shows us the mess and forces us to look at it. And he comes to the mess and heals the blindness, so that there can be healing for those that are broken.
It’s time to take the blinders off. Yet I don’t think any of us willingly take them off. I think that we, like the parents of the blind man, are too afraid to see what’s really going on around us.
Instead, Jesus is the one who takes the blinders off of us when he determines we’re ready. Ready for what? Ready to respond, to live our his call to care for those around us – our neighbors who have a name. When the blinders come off, it’s time to look around and actually see the world around us.