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 Saul’s spiritual blindness in punishing Christians. Then the blindness serves as a catharsis so that Saul may repent of his malicious zeal. When the blindness dissipates, Saul not only knows the truth but makes amends for his past errors.
Spiritual blindness inflicts most people at one time or another. We misread situations and cast blame unjustly. We seek apparent goods like illicit sex or easy money that bring embarrassment if not downfall and shame. We miss seeing Jesus in the suffering. Christ’s light burns away this blindness like a laser cutting away unwanted tissue. We meet him in the sacraments, and the encounters leave us in the glow of his love and truth until he comes for us in full glory at the end of time.