Friday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 9:1-20; John 6:52-59)
In the Greek 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 the prophecy will not be realized, Laius plots to have his infant son murdered. However, the deed is never carried out. When Oedipus grows up, he unwittingly fulfills the prophecy. Then learning of his misdeed, Oedipus blinds himself in shame. 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 goes 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 in which Saul may recognize his malice in persecuting Christians. Finally, blindness with attendant fear serves as punishment for Saul’s zealotry. When the blindness dissolves, Saul not only knows the truth but decides to make amends for 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 us embarrassment if not downfall. We miss seeing Jesus in the suffering. Christ’s light burns away this blindness like an ophthalmologist’s ultrasonic torch emulsifies a cataract. Renewed by Christ, whom we meet in the sacraments, we can live in the truth as we await the fullness of his glory.