I was so excited my son could see, I couldn’t understand how anyone would twist a miracle into placing blame. But the interrogating Pharisees didn’t have my memories: the blind child, moving on instinct, his hands waving before him, sometimes bumbling into doors or trees, the other children jeering, the times when the attempt to keep up became too much, and he collapsed in exhaustion.
But my boy’s wit served him well. He’d met a long series of bullies, so he knew how to stand up to the Sanhedrin. When they probed for information about his healer, he asked slyly, “Do you want to become his disciples too?” “He can speak for himself,” his father said. And he could—eloquent and bold, even through a grilling that would have intimidated trained orators.
Still, I wondered. The rabbis taught that my sin had caused his blindness. How had I made the light die in his eyes? How had I harmed one most precious to me?
But soon the sudden sparkle in my son’s gaze ended the guilt I carried within. My son’s vision restored my own. Like the scales slipping from his eyes, my burden vanished. Jesus freed me from placating the synagogue crowd when he said, “Neither he nor his parents sinned.” Were the rabbis wrong, or had I just moved to a different stage, a greater light and liberation?
Excerpted from Hidden Women of the Gospels by Kathy Coffey, Orbis Books, orbisbooks.com, 800-258-5838
Dear Ms. Coffey, I love the way you looked at this reading through the eyes of a mother with a blind son, How could she not be filled with joy and why was that joy not shared with the religious leaders of that day. I am a Catholic priest and will preach on that passage this afternoon at the vigil mass. I may use your perspective of the mother and thank you for it. The major focus of my homily will be about blindness throughout the world today, especially those in religious authority. We have become so afraid of seeing what is in front of us, and prefer to hold on to those beliefs acquired so long ago. Our fragile nature is so afraid to let go of what we know, as false as it may be.
Love this! Thank you