One day Jesus encountered a man who had been born blind. Before healing this man, Jesus had a discussion with his disciples. They wanted to know if he was born blind because maybe he sinned in the womb, or maybe his parents had sinned. Christ says, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed.” (John 9.3) After the man had been healed, the conversation shifted to the crowd of witnesses. They couldn’t believe their eyes, so they brought the man who had been healed to the religious leaders. That’s where the story takes a sad turn.
Up until this point, the man born blind, the disciples and the witnesses all had been having honest conversations with Christ. The religious leaders, the Pharisees who were known for being extremely strict about every letter of the law, chose to condemn themselves saying about Jesus, “This Man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath.” (John 9.16) Simply because Jesus had compassion on the man born blind on the Sabbath, the men refused to believe this healing was from God. The man born blind could now see, but the Pharisees remained blind to God’s love and compassion.
We run the same risk, my brothers and sisters, when we allow ourselves to become so rigid in our view of God, that we cannot see His love and compassion for others. There are times in our lives when the love of God can seem to suggest that God is not following His own rules. In the coming weeks (and maybe months depending upon the current health crisis) we will have the opportunity to open our eyes to God’s compassion rather than remaining blind.
When we are confronted with something and we wonder if it is from God, we can either depend upon our own limited knowledge of God’s law, or through prayer ask God to open our eyes. In today’s Gospel the man was sent to the Pool of Siloam which offered a public display of God’s loving compassion. We too will be offered a chance to publicly show our compassion on others when we behave in love rather than judgement.
The Pharisees chose to remain blind to God’s love, and judged themselves in the end by condemning Jesus. Will we be blinded to God’s love, or will we instead act in love and compassion for others? I ask you, in love and compassion for others, when we return to Church (God willing) on May 31st, follow the protocols we will be asked to follow from our Metropolitan. These temporary behavioral changes are acts of love and compassion for others.