Duccio di Buoninsegna: Healing of the Blind Man
National Gallery, London, 1308
Readings for Mass
First Reading: First Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind (NRSV, Jn 9:39).”
Let us pray.
Father, as you called your people out of slavery in Egypt and we first recognized you as God for us, we were so sure that we knew exactly who you are. We came away from the encounter in the storm at Mt. Sinai certain that you had made a covenant, a sort of treaty, with us. You promised us the land as our destiny and you demanded that we should accept you as our God, and you alone, and that, as you love us, we should love you and one another. How certain we were then of the behavior that you required of us. The provisions were carved in stone, written once and for all, to be your commandments for us.
We thought we saw clearly, Father, but how blind we were. Gradually over the centuries, even without our acknowledging it, the provisions of the moral code by which we lived gradually changed and were transformed. It was only with the resurrection of Jesus, the Word made flesh, your Anointed One sent to announce the end time, that we realized our blindness. It was not the land at all that you promised. It was eternal life shared with you, a future that began already here, a future that we had already been living without even realizing it. And your people? Not the narrow tribe that we had thought even though we were the first ones to recognize you as God for us. No, your people included everyone who had existed and would exist in every time and place. All called to share your life into eternity. And all called to grow not only in your life but also in your love, life and love which for you, of course, are one. Whenever we are sure that we see, whenever we are certain of who you are and the life that you call us to lead, you are there, through your Word, summoning us to a greater understanding and a more perfect morality than transcends what had gone before.
Father, we think we see but we are really blind as to the possibilities to which you call us. May our response to you in each moment help us to see.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen