The gospels tell of many instances of Jesus performing miracles of healing.  Several of those are accounts of Jesus restoring sight to blind persons.  In his gospel (9: 1-41) John describes the healing of a man born blind.  A distinctive feature of that account is that Jesus gives the reason for the miracle. “It was to let God’s work show forth in him.”

After the blind man was confronted by the Pharisees, Jesus sought him out and led him to an act of faith.  When the man professed his faith and bowed in worship, Jesus said: “I came into this world to divide it, to make the sightless see and the seeing blind.”

Obviously, Jesus was not referring to physical but to spiritual blindness.  This is apparent from the contrast between the man who began to see both physically and with the eyes of faith and the Pharisees who were sighted but could not see who Jesus was.  Jesus told the Pharisees: “If you were blind (physically unable to see) there would be no sin in that.  But you say that you see yet do not recognize me and your sin remains.”

According to an old saying virtue is its own reward.  A counterpart to that saying is to say sin brings its own punishment.  It seems the first punishment of sin is spiritual blindness.  It prevents a person from seeing themselves objectively and from seeing Christ trying to come into their lives.

We are all subject to spiritual blindness both because of personal sin and because  of original sin.  By original sin our human nature has been wounded.  Original sin was followed by original excuses.  When God asked Eve why she ate of the forbidden fruit she replied: “The snake tempted me and I ate.”  Adam’s excused himself saying: “It was the woman you put with me; she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.”  We are prone to imitate our first parents in making excuses when we sin

Another way of seeing the blindness caused by sin is to think of sin as a barrier which obstructs our vision of reality and our relationship with God.  Or again sin is like a hard shell  around our soul which prevents light and grace from entering.

We would do well to make our own the prayer of the blind man of Jericho.  “Lord, that I may see.”  We need to pray for the grace to recognize Jesus, to see what he asks of us, to see what he wants to do for us.