Christ is risen!
There is a saying of Jesus recorded in both Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel: “If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:13-14 and Luke 6:39-40)
As we move toward the Sunday of the Blind Man, we will see the daily scripture readings offered to us by the lectionary of the Church focus our sight on overcoming blindness of soul. Today is no exception.
In today’s Gospel lesson Jesus once again confronts those convinced of their own insights into the faith with their spiritual blindness. He declares to all “I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” The Lord also declares “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers…” (see John 10:1-9).
Spiritual blindness is most profound when the blind man insists he sees clearly. This is the predicament of all who foolishly live as if they need no help at all. This is the condition of those who proudly proclaim they know all they need to know for their own salvation. It is that sad state that many of us live in whether we acknowledge it or not. It is the state of our souls as we blindly live with little regard for humility, repentance, and prayer. This spiritual blindness has eternal consequences that none will escape.
So, what is the cure for this spiritual blindness?
There are three indispensable prescriptions for the healing of spiritual blindness.
First, blindness is healed by The Light. Jesus declares today that He is the door to salvation. It is no mistake that Orthodoxy insists it is a way of life, not merely another religious philosophy. And this insight flows from the centrality of Jesus Christ in the timeless Orthodox faith. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. A Person is the path of salvation. Do you see why this is so vital? Because it is in relationship with a Person, and not merely in adopting some religious ideas, that I am healed of my spiritual blindness. In relationship is my healing, not in my own strength and not by merely “being a better person.” I am healed from my blindness by entering into communion with Him and with all who love Him.
Second, blindness is healed by Humility. The truth is I will never be in communion, in relationship with Him and with all who love Him without admitting my need for Him. I have no choice between remaining blind and being finally able to see unless I first admit I am, in fact, blind! I must finally, and continually confess my moment by moment need of His grace and mercy to fight back against the darkness of spiritual blindness. And I cannot accomplish this by myself. I need the saints, the Church, the Body of Christ to constantly assist me in my life-long journey toward the healing of spiritual blindness.
Finally, blindness is healed by Following. The Lord declares that the sheep know the true Shepherd’s voice and they follow Him. This calls me to the patient confession that my healing from spiritual blindness is always dependent on my continuing to follow the Shepherd. Any time I stop following, I fall back into spiritual blindness. As I follow, as I obey His voice, my spiritual eyesight improves and I see more clearly than before. My spiritual insight and foresight grows as I stay faithful, as I follow more closely.
Today, my sweetest and dearest, my spiritual blindness can and will be healed as I follow The Lord. And what is following The Lord, you may ask? Following The Lord is humbly submitting my personal insights to the wise and wholesome clarity of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. The Church is the depository of all the Holy Spirit has given to the world, and He always directs us to Jesus, the Light of the world and the Healer of the blind. Let us be busy humbly following Christ. Each obedient step behind the Shepherd will see our eyesight growing stronger with every step we take following Him.