The healing of the blind man in the gospel unleashes a chain of chaos and confusion. His neighbours are dumbfounded, the Pharisees are suspicious and at war with one another, and the Jewish authorities are cynical, even calling in the man’s parents as witnesses.  The character of Jesus and of the blind man are called into question as everyone tries to figure out what has happened. Jesus and the man who has been healed are both accused of being sinners. The interrogators even ridicule the man, asking, ‘Are you trying to teach us, and you a sinner through and through?’

But things are simple for the man who has experienced Jesus’ healing. He knows what he has witnessed, and is ready and willing to attest to it. ‘If this man were not from God,’ he says, ‘he couldn’t do a thing.’ He understands that his encounter with Jesus was extraordinary. Jesus finally clears up the confusion, turning everything on its head, as is often his way. It is the man who had been blind who sees who Jesus is: ‘Lord, I believe.’ The Pharisees who think they see things clearly are the ones who are really blind to the truth. ‘We are not blind, surely?’ is the question facing all of us as we advance through Lent. How open are we to seeing the truth of God’s presence in situations where we don’t expect it?

 © Tríona Doherty, Athlone, Co Roscommon.  Intercom Magazine, Veritas Ltd.