The story of the blind man of Siloam is structured around a strong contrast. The Pharisees believe that they know everything. They have no doubts. They impose their truth. They even end up expelling a poor blind man from the synagogue. «We know that God spoke to Moses». «We know that that man who has healed you doesn’t keep the Sabbath». «We know that he is a sinner».
On the other hand, the beggar who is healed by Jesus knows nothing. He only tells of his experience to whoever would want to listen to him: «I only know that I was blind and now I see». «That man did something to my eyes, and I began to see». The story concludes with this last warning from Jesus: «I have come into this world, so that those without sight may see and those with sight may become blind».
Jesus fears a religion defended by secure arrogant scribes, who authoritatively manage God’s Word in order to impose it, utilize it as a weapon, and even excommunicate those who think differently. He fears doctors of the law who are more worried about «keeping the Sabbath» than about «healing» sick beggars. For Jesus it seems to be a tragedy to have a religion of «blind guides» and he says it openly: «If a blind man leads another blind man, they both fall into the pit».
Theologians, preachers, catechists, and teachers, who pretend to «guide» others without perhaps having allowed themselves to be enlightened by Jesus: don’t we need to hear his questioning? Are we going to keep repeating endlessly our doctrines without living a personal experience of encounter with Jesus that opens our eyes and our hearts?
Our Church today doesn’t need preachers who fill the Churches with words, but witnesses who spread, albeit in a humble manner, their small experience of the Gospel. We don’t need fanatics who defend «truths» in an authoritative manner and with empty language, woven together of clichés and stock phrases. We need believers of the truth, attentive to life and sensitive to the problems people have, seekers of God who are capable of listening and accompanying respectfully the great number of men and women who are suffering, who seek and don’t find a way to live that is more human and more believing.
Jose Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf