Blindness to the Members of God’s Family
After a long exile in Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah brings good news to the Israelites in our first reading today. It’s was time to go back to the promised land! However, he says something very interesting. He says that they were going to be taking the blind, the lame, mothers and women pregnant with children along with them. The journey back to the holy land was a long a difficult one and it would have been tempting to leave the blind and the lame and pregnant women behind. After all, they would just slow everyone else down. God reminds the people that all of these people, especially these marginalized people, were part of his family. God would not allow anyone to be left behind, no matter how much of a “burden” people might have wrongly considered them to be.
A similar thing happens in our Gospel today. Notice where we find the blind man…on the side of the road. He is calling out and the people try to get him to be quiet. They just want him to stay in his place on the side of the road, on the margin. Jesus breaks in as is typical in the Gospel and shows that this blind man is part of his mission and part of his family. Jesus will not allow anyone to be marginalized from the family of God, especially not those who society considers not to have much value.
We continue to do the same things today. We tend to value people more for their use to us and what they can contribute to society. We fail to recognize the dignity of every human person that comes from their being created by God. How often do we hear a child conceived unexpectedly referred to as “unwanted” or a “burden” who is just getting in the way of someone else’s plans. We are currently hearing a lot about how old people at the end of their lives are costing us too much money for all their expensive health care. We make them feel that they are burdens and ask if maybe we couldn’t just leave them behind and “let them die” so we can more easily get on to where it is we think we need to be.
It’s not hard to imagine how Jesus feels about this. To show how important human dignity is, Jesus took on our own human nature. He became one of us and had a special care for those that society considered useless or burdensome. He continues to do so today. He asks the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” If Jesus, who is God, can have the humility to ask this question, then perhaps we too can find some people by the side of the road in our life and ask them the same question.