These were the words of that wonderful little man in the gospel this Sunday. He had been born blind, and from his earliest days lived a life as a beggar. (I remember in my home town a man sitting on a busy corner, a hat and sun-glasses covering his face, selling “Blind Man Pencils”.) Everyone in town knew him.
You would think it was cause for great joy that this poor man was given sight for the first time in his life. But not for the keepers of religious propriety, “Whoever healed you is not of God, for this was done on the Sabbath. . . this man is a sinner.”
What’s happening here? The man is being bullied. He’s being pushed into a theological debate that he is sure to lose. He’s dealing with the experts in the law, and they’re mounting a powerful case against Jesus using the most forceful argument of all . . . it’s against the law to heal on the Sabbath!
So what does he do? He refuses to be drawn into their academic game and instead, he witnesses to what he knows is the truth. “I don’t know if he is a sinner or not. All I know is, I was blind and now I see.”
Ever have that kind of bullying? You know, the “professors” in the lunch room/locker room – “Oh come on, you don’t have to go to Mass to talk to God. Besides, they’re all hypocrites anyway.” Or, “You Catholics are such prudes, you love to feel guilty.” Or, “Those people just don’t want to work. It’s in their blood. Why should I have to help them?”
What do you do? I like the little guy’s lead in. “All I know is . . .” In other words, he doesn’t get tangled up in someone else’s conclusions. He doesn’t debate them on their carefully prepared arguments. No, he simply states what he knows to be true. He stands to witness for some-thing that is unpopular to the experts, the majority, the current opinion.
It’s not easy, is it? The man is thrown out of the synagogue for telling the unpopular truth. People shun the messenger of inconvenient facts. Deitrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran theologian who died in the Belsen Prison Camp, describes this as “the cost of discipleship”. It’s part of the program that goes with following Christ. People won’t understand you, will try to shout you down.
So . . . what is it that you know? We don’t have to look too far. Life delivers lessons everyday.
For example I know:
• God helps when we call out to Him.
• Kindness is it’s own reward.
• Spreading hope is what we’re about, not pointing out failure.
• Everyone, everyone, is a Child of God.
• Somehow it’s going to all work out (because God has saved us).
So go witness to, “all I know is . . .”
Bless you always.
Fourth Week of Lent
“One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” For the man born blind, knowledge of this clear and sim-ple truth fortifies him against the ridicule of his detrac-tors, emboldens his replies, and leads to his solemn decla-ration, “I do believe, Lord.” Despite the miraculous evi-dence and his compelling response to their arguments however, there are still those who refuse to accept it, be-cause the event doesn’t fit within the bounds of their ex-pectations or traditions.
We may sometimes find it difficult to see beyond the familiar, but St. Paul says, we too have been brought from darkness into light, which produces goodness and truth.
Lent is a time for sweeping away what keeps us from the truth, for learning to see more as God sees. Can you recall a moment when you suddenly realized –in an encounter with another person, in the resolution to a problem, or in an unexpected outcome –that God was present and lend-ing you His insight?
Share the memory with family or friends, hold fast to it, and let it sustain you in times of confusion or doubt.