Which sense would you be least willing to lose if you had to lose one of your five senses? For most people, sight is the sense they would pick to keep most out of the five. While we don’t want to lose any of them, sight seems to hold sway because it is the most useful for everything we do. Without sight, we cannot experience beauty, we would never know the faces of those we love, we would lose a tremendous amount of knowledge. Could you imagine not knowing colors?
Yet we not only possess physical sight via our eyes but rational sight from our minds. Unlike the rest of the animal world, we are able to possess knowledge and wisdom, to grow in our experiences and shape the reality as we have made it up to this time. But, just as our physical eyes can suffer from glaucomas, our rational sight, our inner eye, can become darkened. We can lose that pristine vision we once had of right and wrong, good and evil, holy and wicked and begin to see the world in bland greys. What causes this inner eye to lose the light? It is sin that darkens this eye, and only one can cure us.
In our Gospel, we hear that a man who was blind from birth receives his vision by the healing power of Jesus. This man can represent each one of us, for we too were born blind, not due to a physical defect, but to the defect of original sin upon our souls. And just as Jesus lifts the blindness from the blind man’s eyes, so too does He lift our original blindness from our souls in baptism. But we can lose that original vision over time, and we can even become blind once more, only we are trapped in a worse blindness because we had seen the Light of the world and beheld His glory, yet rejected it for something else.
We all have something that blinds us to the total truth which Jesus teaches us. For some, it is a favorite sin. For others, it is arrogance. Some are blind because of ignorance while others are blind from apathy. Whatever it is that stands in the way of clear vision, it is something that can be removed. But do we want it removed? We may be like the child who sits too close to the TV and doesn’t want to lose that spot, even though we may gain better vision because of it. We may be like the Pharisees in the Gospel, who do not believe that they are blind, which is the worst kind of blindness.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the light proceeding from light, as we profess each Sunday in the Creed. He does not want us to remain in darkness, the darkness of ignorance, the darkness of pride, the darkness of sin. He wants us to see clearly, to be the children of light, as Saint Paul wants also, as we hear in the second reading. But to remain in the light means that we must be freed of sin, for the light only “produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth”. It means that we must cast off that which blinds us or keeps us in the darkness, and walk in the light. We cannot have it both ways, pretending to be children of light while assisting at Mass but living as if we belong to this world, the world of darkness, remaining secret and hidden rather than visible to all.
Brethren, let us be the children of light! Let us not remain in our sins or in our pride or whatever makes us blind. Let us be healed by Jesus the divine Physician so as to see clearly the Son of Man leading us to God. Let our hearts not find their rest in the filth and darkness of sin, but in the glory and light of God. Let us see the dawn of Easter rising on this day, the midway point of Lent. If we have done little to amend our life, let us not delay! The sun of the Resurrection rises in the east. Do we look for it eagerly, or do we cower in our blindness? Do we wish to remain in the darkness, or shall we be healed of our blindness, so that we may see the light in this world, and rejoice in that same light in the world to come?