the disciples saw the blind man begging they treated him as a
topic for conversation and inquiry. His blindness, not the fact
that he was a suffering person, was the focus of their
attention. They asked Jesus about the reason for his blindness.
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents?”
People of the time believed that a physical infirmity was the
result of sin, committed either by the person, or the parents
(Exodus 20:5). The disciples are in for a surprise. They never
could have imagined that the afflicted man would play a part in
revealing God’s wonderful works on our behalf.
we so far removed from the thinking that blames a person for the
misfortune they bear? In our “enlightened” world don’t people
still think that poverty, and its resulting maladies like
sickness and short life span, are the fault of the poor? (And
aren’t those physically or sexually abused sometimes blamed for
what they “provoked” in others? “She wouldn’t have gotten raped
if she hadn’t dressed that way.”) As long as people think in
this way, they won’t look deeper into the economic, cultural or
political reasons that keep poor people and whole nations in a
permanent underclass. Such attitudes about poverty’s sources
will also prevent people from doing something to change
oppressive conditions for groups of people in our own cities and
for nations in other parts of the world.
casts light on such darkness and answers their question,
“Neither he nor his parents sinned.” The blame lies elsewhere;
maybe even on the very people who are blaming others for their
dire conditions! God is not punishing the man for sin; indeed,
God wants to do something that will deliver the man from his
blindness. After enlightening his disciples, Jesus sets about
changing the man’s condition. So, he cures two forms of
blindness. He enables both the man to see and his disciples to
get a different perspective.
doesn’t just see one person who is ill. He sees another example
of the human condition he has come to alleviate. The blind man
is a symbol – he represents us, for we do not see. Blindness is
a universal ailment that afflicts humanity. We are blind to
God’s presence in our lives; to the needs of our neighbors; to
people of other races, religions, nationalities etc. In our
blindness, we would rather build walls of separation and
construct social barriers than welcome the stranger into our
midst and address the needs of the refugee.
healing happens quickly. Jesus gives the man his physical sight,
but that is just the first step on the man’s journey to
spiritual sight. In the confrontation he has with the Pharisees
the man will continue to progress – from his newly acquired
physical sight to spiritual sight. He will see who Jesus is and
come to faith. While the Pharisees will progress even further
into their blindness. They think they know it all, when in fact
they are not even aware that they know nothing. They are in the
dark. On the other hand, throughout the story the man admits
his ignorance about many things. In doing that, unlike the
Pharisees, he is open to change. After he is thrown out by the
Pharisees Jesus returns to him. He admits his need to Jesus,
“Who is he sir that I may believe in him?” Jesus reveals himself
to the man who then does him reverence. The former blind man has
come to sight in many ways, as he goes from unbelief to faith.
a challenging gospel story. Is it possible that the places we
think we are seeing clearly, we are not? Listen to the gospel:
the ones, who were sure they knew what was going on, the
Pharisees, were blind. They were religious experts, but they
missed the truth staring them in the face. The one who is
confounding them and turning their world upside down was really
God, trying to open their eyes and set things right.
confounds us, raises questions, upsets our routine? These may be
the very places God is trying to open our eyes and give us
vision; set things right for us. The story of the blind man
coming to sight gives us pause to ask ourselves: How well do I
see? Do I see what is really going on in my life? Has a road I
have been traveling taken an unfamiliar turn and I’ve lost my
way? Are things happening to me that make me trip and stumble
like a person walking and groping in the dark? The world is
filled with bright lights and glitter. They blind us to what’s
important, lasting and best for us. We ask ourselves: what is
blurring my vision these days? What’s dulling my appreciation of
blind man’s story replays our own. We made the same journey he
did. We were led to a pool of water, washed there and words were
spoken over us, “I baptize you….” This began the journey guided
by the sight we received in those waters. In baptism we were
given a clearer sight with which to look at our world. What do
we see as a result of that washing at the pool? Has the sight
we received in the washing affected our priorities and life
Because our eyes have been opened we see that people of other
races and nations (even those some name as enemies) are our
sisters and brothers. We see that having all we ever wanted can
leave us dissatisfied and poor in God’s sight. We see that even
in sickness and old age there is great value and beauty. We see
that God is not someone on high to fear, but someone up close
who walks our life with us in loving companionship. We see the
people we value are not always the ones others call
“important.” Like the blind man the waters have opened our eyes
and we see with the eyes of Jesus, who is light for a dark
here for a link to this Sunday’s readings:
Our Lent should awaken a
sense of social justice.
Oscar Romero, “The Violence of Love”
JUSTICE BULLETIN BOARD
no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them
Across our nation and around the world, domestic violence and
human trafficking are two great darkness’s on our humanity. Both
of these cut across all ethnic and economic backgrounds and are
present in both small rural communities and crowded urban
metropolises. For those suffering under domestic violence, home
becomes a place of fear, the dignity of their human person is
assaulted, and they are often unable to see a way out. They are
in need of hope, comfort, and light in their time of darkness.
The same is true for those that are the subjects of human
trafficking. Human trafficking can appear in the most unlikely
places, like restaurants and college campuses. Some of the
warning signs to look out for is someone being isolated and
being answered for by somebody else, and a steady stream of
people coming and going from a house. According to the National
Human Trafficking Hotline, N.C. is among the top 10 states in
the number of trafficking reports. In the past 10 years, the
NHTH has identified almost 2,700 victims of human trafficking in
The Compendium of the Catholic Church states: “A just society
can become a reality only when it is based on the respect of the
transcendent dignity of the human person (132). Together with
equality in the recognition of the dignity of each person and of
every people there must also be an awareness that it will be
possible to safeguard and promote human dignity only if this is
done as a community, by the whole of humanity” (145).
Locally, InterAct of Wake County is a private, non-profit,
United Way agency that provides safety, support, and awareness
to victims and survivors of domestic violence and rape/sexual
assault. InterAct fulfills this mission through the support of
its volunteers and the community.
To learn more and for crisis phone lines, go to:
To volunteer, call Interact’s main office: 919-828-7501.
NC Stop Human Trafficking is the statewide community member
coalition whose mission is to eradicate modern day slavery in
all its forms. NC Stop works through connecting and supporting
individuals, community-based and faith-based organizations,
non-governmental and governmental organizations. To learn more
and to get involved, go to:
----Barbara Molinari Quinby, MPS
Coordinator of Social Justice Ministries
Sacred Heart Cathedral -- Raleigh, N.C.
Mini-reflections on the Sunday scripture readings designed for
persons on the run. “Faith Book” is also brief enough to be
posted in the Sunday parish bulletins people take home.
today’s Gospel reading:
[Jesus said to the blind man]
wash in the Pool os Siloam” – which means Sent –
went and washed and came back able to see.
story of the blind man coming to sight gives us pause to ask
How well do I see?
Do I see what is really going on in my life?
Has a road I have been traveling taken an unfamiliar turn
and I’ve lost my way?
Are things happening to me that make me trip and stumble
like a person walking and groping in the dark?
The world is filled with bright lights and glitter. They
blind us to what’s important, lasting and best for us.
So, we ask ourselves: what is blurring my vision these days?
What’s dulling my appreciation of life?
POSTCARDS TO DEATH ROW INMATES
"The use of the death penalty cannot really be mended. It should
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick
have a friend who is in a federal maximum security prison in
Colorado. He was previously in a maxi prison in California –
very confined. I knew him in the late 80's at San Quentin
Prison. He has been in prison for 38 years. Would you drop him
a line? Thanks.
Penitentiary – Max
Florence, Colorado 81226-8500
more information on the Catholic position on the death penalty
go to the Catholic Mobilizing Network:
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