The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John 9:1-38
In our day and age there is a considerable amount of time spent blaming others for all of the bad things that happen in the world. The Democrats blame the Republicans for everything bad in the world and the Republicans blame the Democrats for the same.
When a marriage is rocky or difficult, so much time is spent playing the blame game. It is his fault. It is her fault. It is my mother-in-law’s fault.
Whatever the case may be, we have a certain tendency to find a reason for the suffering and pain that we see around us. The disciples of the Lord Jesus were quite similar in this regard. They saw a man who was born blind (some of the Church fathers tell us that this man was probably born without eye balls, instead simply having empty eye sockets.
In the Jewish world in which they were raised, this type of deformity from birth was a curse. The curse was due to the sins of either this man or his parents. But the Lord illumines their understanding and brings to light the truth of the matter. The man was not blind because of something that either he or his parents had done.
Some of us have a tendency to believe that every bad thing that happens to us in life is a direct curse or punishment because of our sins. It may be possible but this is certainly not the case in this passage. In fact quite the opposite is true. God did not allow this in order to punish someone for some sin, He allowed it to reveal His mercy. The Lord Jesus Christ says “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.”
We have many difficulties in life. It is not always the case that these difficulties are meant to punish or oppress us. When was the last time we looked at a truly difficult time of our life with hopeful anticipation of what God was about to do in our lives? When was the last time we were excited about what God was doing in the midst of our difficulties?
As a small mission church, we come across various problems and difficulties from day to day and week to week. As of December we had no place to pray and yet in the perfect time, we found this wonderful location. We have had the privilege of praying together as often as we have because God opened the door to make that possible. God doesn’t always work in a way that we can recognize when we rely on outside assistance. God waits and works when things look impossibly difficult. God specializes in showing His might when nothing but His might will solve the problem at hand.
It is so important for us as Christians, as people who have faith and hope in the living God, to stop rationalizing pain, suffering and difficulties in life. As people who are illumined and enlightened by God we are invited to see every difficulty as a chance for God to work. Sometimes He works independently of us, sometimes He works directly through us! In all of this we realize that while the issues and difficulties we face are real, they are not impossible. Our Lord reminds us that “with God, all things are possible.”
In all things we require the faith to know that God will help when all other solutions have been exhausted. And when God opens the door and helps in our great times of need we have to immediately give glory to God. The Pharisees were so filled with unbelief towards God that they could not even take a moment to give glory for the great miracle of a man receiving his sight. They were so busy trying to judge and teach others according to their misconceptions of God that they put limits on God and what He was able to do. They completely failed to recognize the work of God’s Son right in front of them. By one miracle of the Lord, one man was given sight and a whole multitude lost even the sight that they had. The man went away from Jesus with fullness of sight, both physical and spiritual, while the Pharisees were left with complete blindness and darkness of hearts.
This is the way of the Lord who gives to each according to his disposition. The miracle is the same either way, but the perception of that miracle will depend completely upon the heart of the one who encounters the work of God. As St. Paul writes to Titus “To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15).
Do we see impossible troubles in our lives, or an opportunity for God to show His strength and love for us? Do we see the work that God does in our lives as a matter of luck or fortune or karma or do we rightly give praise to the One who alone does wonders? May the God who granted sight, also grant us to see clearly. May He who arose from the dead also raise up our minds and hearts to glorify and praise His name. Glory be to God, Forever. AMEN.