This question from this mornings Gospel asked by the Pharisees of Jesus is not really a question but more of a statement with a question tacked on as a social grace. Us blind? No way. Right? We couldn’t be. We’re people of faith after all.
Spiritual blindness is a common affliction, something we all share. Surely each of us has some vision but we also have blind spots, areas which are out of our peripheral vision. This can be a hard thing to accept, especially for those who are faithful. We who give our lives over to God hope that in doing so we might find some enlightenment, a share in holy vision that sees the world as God does. The truth is that we are not perfect, we are not God. No matter how devoted we are, there will always be some truth sitting just outside our field of sight.
This exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees reminds me of the awakening that I have had as I have pursued the work of understanding my own relationship with race and racism. My privilege as a white person afflicted and continues to contribute to my own spiritual blindness. There are truths known to God that I cannot see. But like the Pharisees my own fragility causes me to want to proclaim “Surely I am not blind, am I? … Surely I am not a racist, am I?”
In our current cultural climate, it’s fairly easy to find folk proclaiming I am not a racist, I’m not a part of the problem. We see people, we love people, isn’t that enough? These sorts of statements are a spiritual blindness, a denial of the truth of the way our society functions. To our insistence that we can see Jesus responds: “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” It’s time we admit we have blind spots and work to bring clarity to our vision.