A reflection on John Chapter 9
There is a story of a man born blind. A man who never gazed upon the full color spectrum of light, whose eyes were never radiated by the stars in heaven, who could only perceive of the world as it was given to him by the eyes of others, but never his own. This was his existence, his life defined.
Imagine growing up in a world that only looked at these kinds of situations horizontally. In other words, what you see is what you get. But this man could not see anything at all. In fact, the only explanation one could conclude, according to the Disciples, is that this man was blind due to his family history. In other words, he was born that way either because of the way his father was born (genetics) or the way he lived (sin). And to a degree, this might be true.
But suddenly a stranger approaches the blind man with his followers, and he overhears this stranger tell those following him that they were asking the wrong question. He asserts that they shouldn’t just be looking at this horizontally, but also vertically. Instead of looking for someone to blame, they should be looking to Someone who could heal. All of a sudden, the blind man’s eyes are opened and awakened to the light. The spectrum of colors and the dazzles of life are his to behold at last! But what’s interesting is that this man, who was born blind, wasn’t just blown away by his ability to see, but rather what amazed him was his ability to see differently. According to the story, it wasn’t the lights of the earth that amaze him, it’s the ability to see a different kind of Light come into the world, one that thousands of seeing eyes are blind to; that’s what moved him. He beheld Jesus the Christ, and now sees his life in a way that many, like the Pharisees who doubted him, will never know.
Not all those born with physical or mental illnesses are healed like this man was. But according to this story, the work of God is seen and demonstrated to those who suffer hardships in this life. Though we can blame genetics, or sin, or chemical imbalances, or any other issue (though they may be true), God’s perspective is different. He looks upon those who are ill and asks, “How can I show myself to them in a way that those who are healthy will never know?” How can we as the Church love those who some in society wouldn’t even deem “human” anymore? Jesus came for those who need a doctor, and promises that no matter what they are suffering, he is with them always.