Turning a “blind eye” IS SOMEBODY’S sin!

I  would bet that most people who read this blog are like me — in that we wear glasses or contacts or at least “readers/cheaters.”  We can still see — but not as well as we use to be able to see.  The fine print is harder to decipher — the words that scroll across the bottom of the television are harder to distinguish — those sports scores on the corner of the screen are just too small!

And yet — we can still see.  We are blessed with the gift of sight.  People, events, colors — all reveal an unfolding story.  Pictures remind us of the past.  Art work calls us to imagine. Movies stir emotions.  Our eyes are a window to the world and a portal to our soul.

In the Gospel, Jesus is asked a question about a man born blind:  was it his sin or the sin of his parents that caused his blindness?

In the world of the time of Jesus, disabilities and misfortune were the result of someone’s sin … to be blind meant someone was being punished for sin …. so, was it his sin or the sin of his parents?  Because — the sins of a father could be passed down to the 3rd and 4th generations.

Jesus never really answered the question — he said there was another purpose — to reveal his power.

But …. following the line of blindness, let’s SEE how “turning a blind eye”  [1] can be sinful and/or such  [2] a choice can have serious consequences.

[1] Pretending we do not see something — i.e. turning a blind eye — can be sinful.  If we ignore a need to which we can respond — we are perhaps cold-hearted, maybe we are selfish — maybe we decide it is not our problem.  But, it is a way of choosing not to show charity or support or concern.

Remember the Gospel story of the rich man who walked by the poor beggar at his gate everyday?  On the day of judgment his sin was revealed — it wasn’t that he was mean to the beggar; it wasn’t that he heaped scorn on the man or yelled at him.  No — his sin was that he never even saw the man.

Are there people at our gate, on our corner, around the hall at work — who we walk by so easily and care-less-ly?  Do we realize that someone close to us is angry with us — and we just pretend not to see?

For too many years, it seems, our Church has not seen — refused to see ?? — that those in the pews were showing discontent, signaling unhappiness.  Too many Church leaders walked by — day by day — with their agenda clearly in hand, and not even seeing that people were in need of — wanting — something different from what the Church was “selling.” Then comes along POPE FRANCIS … and he starts to open some eyes … and to see what others did not or would not see.  And while Pope Francis teaches one message, there are many bishops and chancery types who are still seeing what they want to see — and they are the blind trying to lead those who see clearer than they see.

[2] Ignoring the mold on our leg — year after year — and not seeing our dermatologist can have serious consequences.  Turning a blind eye to the growing distance between  us and a spouse — or a good friend — can kill a relationship.

Ignoring the flashing lights at a railroad crossing has been deadly for too many people.  Either they did not see the warning — or they misjudged what they saw and thought they could beat the train.  They “should” have seen a little more closely.


Do we really want to see?  Do I?  Do you?  Once we see, we have the responsibility to do something, to be something.  The man born blind — depended on the kindness and generosity of others to survive.  Once he could see — he had to take care of himself.

If we see a problem with our child — then we are called to do something.

If we see a problem with the educational system — then we are called to do something.

If we see a problem that in tough economic times that funds for human services are being cut over and over again …. then we have to step up and do something.

To see something and then not to do something about what we see  would be a sin and a shame.  With sight comes responsibility.

Many wives believe that their husbands have selective hearing.  Maybe.  Perhaps we all have selective seeing …..maybe.

My great-nephew George is now about two months old.  He is beginning to try to focus his eyes — following the voices in the different parts of the room — going from shining-light to shining-light.  The remaining weeks of Lent are a time for us to focus our sight and to sharpen our vision.  We are being called to see like never before.  We are to call upon our God to open our eyes so that we see as God sees.  As Jesus gave life-giving water to the Samaritan woman at the well, he is poised to give sight to each of us who really, really, really want it.  But remember, once we see — then we have to do something.

Not to see can be sinful.  Not to see can have deadly consequences.

Let us invite the Lord to help us to  see better …. to see things the way God sees them … to see with caring, unselfish eyes.


About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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