Have eyes but can't see

MANILA, Philippines - Some years ago, there was a movie entitled, "Butterflies Are Free," based on the stage play of Leonard Gershe. It revolves around a young man who is blind from birth and a lovely young lady who is a divorcee.

Don Baker, the blind man, meets Jill Tanner whose short-lived marriage discouraged her from wanting more involvements with men. Friendship developed between the two. When he asks her to marry him, she is afraid of getting hurt again and hesitates to say "yes."

* * *

Don tells her that even though she has eyes to see, she - and not he - is the one who is really blind, because she is afraid to step out in faith and make another commitment to love someone. Don's own faith and persistence eventually convinces Jill to open her eyes and liberates her from the fear of embarking on a new life together.

* * *

In the gospel of this 4th Sunday of Lent, we encounter people who are also blind like Don Baker (read Jn 9:1-41). They are two kinds: One who is physically blind and people who are spiritually blind; one who wants very much to see and people who REFUSE to see.

* * *

Of the Pharisees, Christ said, "They have eyes but do not see." These self-righteous religious leaders could not see because of pride, which thinks it knows all the answers. Note how they heaped insults on the blind man: "You were born and brought up in sin and you are trying to lecture on us?" (Jn 9:34).

* * *

Aren't we in some ways like the spiritually blind Pharisees? For instance, in arguments, we insist we're right even when it's obvious we're not. But we stick to our opinion because of pride. We are spiritually blind when we do not accept our faults and weaknesses and go right on repeating them.

* * *

Out of pride, there are parents who cannot accept that their child graduated salutatorian "only." So they raise hell contesting a .01% difference with the valedictorian's grade. Our biases and prejudices can cause us to be blind, too.

Reminds me of that bus driver bringing around tourists to the country's historic landmarks. Pointing to an old fort, the driver said over the microphone, "Hundreds of Japanese died on that spot."

* * *

After a while, he showed a historic bridge and said, "The Japanese Imperial Army were wiped out there."

As the tour progressed, the driver kept on narrating how the Japanese lost to the American-Filipino forces. One guy good-naturedly stood up and said, "Sir, is there any place where the Japanese also won?" The driver replied: "As long as I'm the driver, the Japanese never won!"

* * *

The gospel lesson, as exemplified by the blind man, is: We need self-knowledge and self-acceptance.

And basically that requires humility - humility to accept you need help, humility to face your weakness, for healing to happen.

The proud, who believe they are always right, have no hope. Remember the wife who always insisted she was right? She was left (behind)!

* * *

FAMILY TV MASS - is aired by the SVD Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. on IBC 13 at 9-10 a.m. every Sunday.

Sponsor: Civil Service Commission.

Celebrant: Fr. Flavie Villanueva, SVD.

* * *

For Mass intentions, call Brian at Christ the King Seminary (cf. tel. directory) or e-mail: familytv.mass@yahoo.com.

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