Stories Seldom Heard
274th Edition – May 2022
The Man born Blind - John’s Gospel Chapter 9: 1-41
Welcome to Stories Seldom Heard. I would especially like to welcome those who participated in the Holy Week Retreat in Adrian, Michigan.
Even though it is May, I still hear the echo of “Christ our light” from the Easter Vigil service. Some parishes because of weather or other circumstances might modify the service, but the memory of the lighting of the “new fire,” the entrance of the paschal candle into a darkened church and the solemn chant “Christ our light” even now, in May, stir my spirit. As we lit our candles from the Paschal flame, we symbolically committed ourselves to follow Christ’s path and be disciples of light for the world. Each day the shadow of violence hovers over our world. We are horrified by the images we see and the reports we hear. However, our declaration at Easter, “Christ our light,” stands firm and strong against the darkness of sin and war.
We might not have a church full of candles to remind us of our commitment to Christ and the power of his light to shine through us, but Brother David Steindl-Rast reminds us of the power of lighting one candle. “The very act of lighting a candle is a prayer” (1). The simple practice of lighting a candle with intention can help us focus on the Light of Hope instead of despair, the Light of Compassion that replaces isolation, and the Light of Mercy that opens our eyes to the presence of grace in our lives. “The very act of lighting a candle” witnesses our commitment to resist the darkness of conflict, violence and poverty that covers so many places in our world. “The very act of lighting a candle” is a sign of our desire, like the man born blind, to see clearly.
The man born blind is more than a story of his blindness. It reveals the blindness of Jesus’ disciples, the temple priests, the man’s family and neighbors. The man’s
“Rabbi, who has sinned this man or his parents…?” We hear it again boldly stated in the harsh judgment of the temple priests. But this judgment is not limited to their society. We hear this attitude expressed even today. Sometimes
The blind man’s story is more than just a miracle story. He is a teacher and fellow disciple.
In one way the story of the unnamed man who receives his sight is a sad story. His experience is confusing and bittersweet.
Bitter: at a moment when everyone should be rejoicing, he finds himself alone and alienated from his former life. His whole life has changed. What was once so predictable is now complicated. No longer can he support himself by begging. No longer will his parent take responsibility for him. No longer can he claim blindness as a reason for inaction. In the midst of this confusing and isolating situation he stands alone. “They drove him away (from the temple).”
Sweet! Jesus seeks him out and finds him. Jesus asks, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” His answer is clear, “’Lord, I believe’ … “and worshiped him.”
As we ponder this story, we might want to ask ourselves a few more questions. What is the experience of being born blind? What is it like to live in a world that most people will never experience? What is it like to be born into a situation that we believe can never change?
was born in Vienna, Austria. He is internationally known for his active participation in interfaith dialogue and his insights on the interaction between spirituality and science.
"Stories Seldom Heard" is a monthly article written by Sister Patricia Bruno, OP. Sister is a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, California. This service is offered to the Christian community to enrich one's personal and spiritual life. The articles can be used for individual or group reflection. If you would like to support this ministry, please send your contributions to: Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, c/o Sister Patricia Bruno, OP, 1540 Grand Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901
Special thanks to Mary Ellen Green, and Maria Hetherton who have helped in editing this article.
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