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Bishop's Homily for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 24, 2021

[St. Raymond Church, Dublin, California]

I don’t want to see!

This, of course, is the opposite of what the blind man said in today’s Gospel.  He said, “I want to see!”  But how often do we, in effect, say that we do not want to see?

I drive by a homeless encampment, and while I see perhaps a tent or a shopping cart, I may not see the real people who live there.  I may not want to see what brought them there in the first place:  drug addiction, domestic violence, depression.  I would just rather drive by and note a homeless encampment.  But if I begin to see – to really see – I may feel compelled to follow through in some way.  I may feel I need to give to a homeless shelter or an agency that deals with victims of domestic violence, or a street-counseling agency.  I may see that I can have an influence on the local government to do something about this situation.  In other words, if I follow through, it will demand some kind of commitment on my part, so I would rather not see.

As we observe October as Respect Life Month, we may not want to see the horrors of abortion or the millions of lives it takes.  It has been demonstrated that women who see their babies through ultrasound are far less likely to abort them, and therefore many abortion clinics will not allow their clients to see.  It is better for them to be blind so that they cannot see that there is a real human life within them.  Or a person is suffering a terminal illness and only sees the pain and the indignity of being dependent on others for care, and so decides to take their own life.  They may want to be blind to their eternal destiny, since if they have truly made themselves gods, could be more painful than anything they have ever suffered, and without any pill that will release them from the pain EVER.  We might want to remain blind to this.

We may see very well the fault of another person and be in conflict with that person all the time.  We may want to be blind to our own fault, because then we ourselves would have to change rather than insisting that everyone else do so.

We may not want to see all the people around us who do not know the love of Jesus.  So we focus on those we know, on those who already share our faith, and we do not take the risk of sharing the Good News of Jesus with others.  We see clearly those who share our faith, but are blind to those who do not.

The crowd that surrounded Jesus saw him with their eyes, but they did not truly see him as he was.  They saw him as a celebrity who could not be bothered by a blind man calling out to him.  They followed him as if he were some kind of circus act that had come into town.  But the blind man truly saw that he was the Son of David, that is, the Messiah.  It was that faith that saved and healed him.

Jesus asks the same question of us that he asked the blind man: “What do you want me to do for you?”  If we answer “Lord, I want to see,” he will indeed open our eyes.  But beware!  We will also be invited to follow him, where we will see in ourselves the sins we would rather not see; where we will see the homeless and the poor so that we may reach out to them; where we will see life in all it beauty from conception until natural death; and where we will see our faults and failings so that we can open our hearts to the merciful healing love of Jesus.

Yes, sometimes it is easier to be blind to the realities of life, but if we allow Jesus to open our eyes, we can follow him and see the most wonderful things we can imagine in his merciful and healing love.