Light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth (Eph 5, 9)
Jesus opens the eyes of the blind. We are not blind if we believe in Jesus and go about doing good, without fear of the powerful and virulent opponents of the truth.
Jesus corrects our vision, disciples that we are who cling to a common generalization and think as Job’s friends. The poor are blamed for their own miseries. It is even pointed out: “We have got this tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work, and so there is a real culture problem here that has to be dealt with” (U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan). Such an unthinking belief robs us of the opportunity to shine our light before others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify God.
Jesus gives a clearer vision to us neighbors of many in need. The dissonance between the image etched in our minds of the glorified Jesus and the repulsive appearance of a homeless person makes us cringe and rationalize, “The latter is not the former,” although we have read many times over in the Gospel of Matthew, and in the conferences of St. Vincent de Paul, that the poor represent the Son of Man, and that the crucifixion, according John the Evangelist, is the moment of glorification. We do not altogether see with the eyes of faith.
Jesus opens our eyes, we who are the worst of the blind for refusing to see. We imitate the Pharisees.
They say that indeed they see, but only those things that interest them: impressive appearances, power, control. It is more important to them that their most certain doctrines are kept than that a blind man gets to see. They thus disregard the salvation of souls as the supreme law and neglect justice, mercy and fidelity.
To advance their agenda and careers, the Pharisees serve at once as prosecutors, judges and juries. They intimidate the defenseless to extract confessions, they ridicule and excommunicate. They are hardly distinguishable from those referred to by Pope Francis: “It always pains me greatly to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire to impose certain ideas at all costs, even to persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts” (EG 100). Are these persons the ones standing up to Francis?
All these who judge on the basis of appearance are not suited to point to the others the way of faith. They will be blind guides. Only those who welcome even a stranger and share their bread can guide: their eyes are opened at the breaking of the bread; their light breaks forth like the dawn.