Friday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 9:1-20; John 6:52-59)
In the classic tragedy Oedipus Rex, spiritual and physical blindness interplay to the enlightenment of all. Oedipus’ father, King Laius, is told in an oracle that his son will kill him and marry his wife. Determined that this not happen, Laius plans to have his infant son Oedipus killed. However, the deed is never carried out, and Oedipus eventually fulfills the prophecy. In the end Oedipus blinds himself in shame and remorse. In the first reading there is a parallel story of spiritual and physical blindness.
After Saul’s inquisitorial journey is interrupted by the appearance of Jesus, he becomes blind. The infliction functions first as a metaphor of the prosecutor’s spiritual blindness in punishing Christians. Then the blindness indicates a period of introspection so that Saul may recognize the malice of his zeal. Finally, blindness with attendant fear and worry serves as a punishment for Saul’s obtuseness. When the blindness dissipates, Saul not only knows the truth but decides to make amends for his past errors.
Spiritual blindness inflicts most people at one time or another. We misread situations and cast blame unjustly. We seek after apparent goods that bring embarrassment if not downfall and shame. We miss seeing Jesus in the suffering. Christ’s light burns away this blindness like an ophthalmologist’s ultrasonic instrument emulsifies a cataract. Renewed by Christ, whom we meet in all of the sacraments, we can live in the splendor of the truth as we await the fullness of his glory.