Seen any good movies lately? Our readings today are about sight. About seeing. They raise the question, “What do you see?” This is an important question because what you see determines what you understand, and judge, and so what you do.
Not everyone sees the same thing. We heard in the first reading: “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.”
To be able to see only the appearance – only the outward manifestation of something, only the physical appearance of something or someone, is to have a kind of blindness. It is to grope around in the dark – seeing only the surface of things and not penetrating into the reasons for why things are the way they are, and so to fail to truly understand. It is to lack wisdom, or in other words, to be foolish.
Physical sight is wonderful, but it gives us only the plain physical appearance of things. To go deeper, to penetrate and understand the whys, the meanings, the importance of others, we need a different kind of sight, a spiritual insight. This Jesus gives us.
In the Gospel He says: “I am the Light of the world.” Jesus does not mean He is physical light, like what we get from the sun or from a light-bulb. Rather Jesus is the source of spiritual light – letting us see more deeply into the reality of things, into our own life experience, and so to understand more fully the nature of ourselves and others, their purpose and worth. He gives us wisdom.
In today’s world there are people who see only science. Science is a wonderful adventure, revealing marvelous things about creation. But no matter how wonderful and marvelous it is, true science never even attempts to answer why things are the way they are, nor the reason and purpose of all this wonderful creation. Like physical sight science can only answer questions in its own realm, and can never penetrate to explain the meaning and true purpose of something, and so reveal the things true value and worth.
Science describes and reveals some truly awe-inspiring phenomena. But science can never explain why these phemonema elicit awe,
or what the true purpose and meaning of the awe is. Likewise there are many parts of creation that are hauntingly beautiful. Big sky Texas sunsets for example. But science cannot explain why they are beautiful, nor the reason and purpose of such beauty, nor why beauty haunts us so.
For those kind of questions we need to see more deeply into realities, and that sight comes from Christ.
Let me give you an example: an unplanned pregnancy, with one set of eyes, can only be seen as at best a bother, and perhaps also an intolerable burden, and a threat to future dreams, and even to the advancement of children already born. But with a deeper insight, life – even when it is a burden – is always seen as a blessing, something wonderful, always a gift. Two people look at the same situation and see two radically divergent things. Why? Because one sees only the surface, the other sees deeply into the nature of the situation.
Or again: someone looks at undocumented workers and sees illegal aliens, law breakers, an economic threat who are taking jobs of citizens, a cause of crime and social unrest. Someone else seeing the same situation with different eyes sees people struggling to make a better future for their family, sees people with the gumption to risk leaving all they know and find familiar to try for a better life in a new situation, sees persons who have basic human rights and who are loved by God as God’s children. Two people look at the same situation and see two radically divergent things. Why? Because one sees only the surface, the other sees deeply into the nature of the situation.
Jesus is the one who heals our blindness and helps us to see beyond the surface, to penetrate deeply into the reality of things. Then we can see the beauty of creation and know it speaks to us of the beauty of the Creator. We can not only feel the awe but see the source of the awe which beckons us to Itself. We can see the dignity, beauty and worth of our own lives, and of all those around us. In Christ we begin to truly see.
Only Jesus can truly, deeply, heal us of blindness.
What do you see?