1st Reading: 1 Samuel 16: 1, 6-7, 10-13
Responsorial Psalm: 23
2nd Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41
The Gospel is proof that the game has been going on for thousands of years. . . it’s the blame game. And the object of the game is quite simple: find someone to blame for bad or unfortunate events that have happened -- rather than attempt to seek a solution.
A variation of the blame game is the pass the buck game with a similar objective: evade responsibility by passing it on to someone else.
We see the blame game in the Gospel when the disciples ask Jesus: “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, that he was born blind.”
And we see the pass the buck game: when the parents of the blind man – not wanting to get the scribes and Pharisees ticked off at them, say: “We don’t know how our son now sees – nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him – he is of age to speak for himself.”
Now it was though in Jesus day – that sickness or physical disabilities or other “bad things” that happen in life were the result of sin. . .
And while today we may not necessarily say that bad things are the result of sin – they are certainly the result of someone or something besides us. . .
A fisherman was heading home at dusk. The river he was on was narrow – and suddenly another boat was headed straight for him, coming faster and faster.
He gets upset and starts to yell: “Hey, watch out. Turn darn you!”
But the other boat crashed into him anyway. The fisherman was furious and started yelling, and cursing, louder and louder. Until ---- he realizes –
no one --- is piloting the other boat.
He was run into by an empty boat – that somehow got unmoored from the dock ---and now he feels even more upset than ever – because he has no one to blame!
Our lives are full of boats that are adrift – and many of them are empty. But our minds won’t let us accept this reality --- because they urge us to find the pilot of the boat: we want to find someone to BLAME! When things don’t go right, we want to find out who’s guilty!!
Underlying the blame game and the pass the buck game – is the expectation that we want life to be fair.
And the truth is, life is neither fair, nor unfair – life just is: as author Harold Kushner reminded us many years ago: bad things do simply happen to good people. . .
So how does one break the cycle of blaming and passing the buck???
I think the solution is found in the first reading when Samuel went off to find the future king of Israel among the sons of Jesse. . .
After seeing what Samuel thought was prime kingly material rejected by the Lord, Samuel is told:
“Not as humans see does God see, because humans see the outward appearance – but the Lord looks into the heart.”
A solution for getting not just through life – but enjoying a life that is prosperous and abundant with good things from the lord – is to start seeing things with the eyes of faith – with the eyes of God:
we have to learn, with the grace of God – to be empathetic, not judgmental: grateful rather than entitled; responsible rather than evasive.
We need to focus on understanding others: learn how to walk in their shoes – we need to get rid of the black and white approach that is someone if right – it means someone else is wrong.
I am not perfect – and neither are you: so why do we expect perfection from ourselves and others??
If someone caused us harm –was it on purpose, or just an accident?
Are we sending out signals for other people to “attack” us, even if we don’t notice? Self-pity is a character we can play:
we believe our suffering makes us special and deserving of more attention. Playing the victim role is easy: it makes us feel innocent --- because others are to blame for our pain: certainly we had no role whatsoever in bringing it about. . .
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Empathy starts at home – let’s all just start being more kind to ourselves! AND KIND TO OTHERS!
What we need to realize is that there is a magnificent future waiting for each one of us, but only if we are willing to leave prior events behind.
We can’t take responsibility for circumstances until we relieve those who have hurt us of their power over us.
We cannot fulfill our potential until we forgive our past.
We can’t be a victor tomorrow if we are still acting like a victim from events that happened yesterday – or last month – or five years ago.
We can’t move forward while we remain fixed on what’s behind us.
“Who sinned – this man or his parents?”
And Jesus answered: “neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through this blind man.”
Something terrible has happened to us – who is to blame??
I believe God still works in the way God has always worked --- most likely no one is to blame – this happened, whatever it may be --- so that God’s works might be made visible. . .
It’s time to stop blaming – and start aiming – at the future God has ready for us.
As St. Paul told the Ephesians, so he tells us:
“You were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of the light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.”
We come into the light of Christ when we refuse to blame – which only gives power to the pain --- and avoids finding a solution for moving forward.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament:
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