Selection of the sermons of Father Ezekiel Oko

... zur deutschen Version
Sermon for in the reading year: A

Dear sisters and brothers, blindness is a bitter situation that no one would wish for. The difficulties involved show how much it means to "be able to see". It is a great gift and means more in life than gold and silver. But when we talk about 'seeing', we don't just mean our organic eyes. Because there are other perspectives of seeing, there are other types of blindness. This is evident in the readings we have just heard, especially in the Gospel.

On the way with his disciples, Jesus met “a man who was blind from birth”. So, first of all, this man suffers from blindness of the organic eyes. But how different people perceive his situation betrays a different kind of blindness.

The disciples of Jesus B. saw a sin in his situation. “Rabbi, who sinned? Himself or his parents so that he was born blind?” was her question to Jesus. They saw this blindness as a condemnable situation and sought who was to blame. That's not a solution! That cannot help the blind.

The Pharisees also had no empathy for the blind man. What do we mean by "empathy" here? Empathy is the ability and willingness to recognize, understand, and empathize with the feelings, emotions, and suffering of another person. The disciples of Jesus could not perceive the suffering of the blind man. The Pharisees were angry that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, ignoring the joy of the healed man. Not being able to feel empathy is a kind of blindness – blindness of the heart.

But how did Jesus perceive this man? He saw a man who had suffered greatly since birth and was in need of healing, badly. His deliverance was more necessary than assigning guilt or keeping Sabbath rules. Anything that could not assuage the suffering of those who were suffering would have to wait for the moment, Jesus thought.

Jesus actually healed this person with organic blindness. This blindness is certainly very bitter. What a joy and relief this person must have felt when he experienced the healing. What new quality of life he got.

It is therefore clear in the gospel that even those who can see with the outer eyes - like Jesus' disciples and the Pharisees - could still suffer from another kind of blindness - the blindness of the heart.

This shows up every time we meet our fellow human beings, without empathy, without charity. There is a saying that goes: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eyes…!” For a while, this word was heard at many weddings. The husband, the wife should be looked at with the eyes of the heart, with the eyes of love. Man is more than what one sees from the outside. Man is more than his outward deeds. When we see with the heart, we often find that we are not judging a person, but one who needs our love, one whom we can help.

Finally, there is a third way of seeing, seeing through the eyes of faith. If this is missing, then one will suffer from the blindness of the soul. Where one cannot see the deeds of God, where one cannot engage in the assistance and help of God, there that blindness is to be found. Whenever we only count on what we can do, what is in our power, without seeing that God is a source of strength, that he is with us and helps us, then we suffer from this blindness. It is also the case when we measure the value of our fellow human beings solely by their outward appearance.

The prophet Samuel is an important example for us. He, too, sees the outside first: the appearance and the stately figure. Samuel looks first at what the people see. God sees things differently. It is precisely this look that Samuel still has to learn. God doesn't look at the outside, which is important to us humans. God's gaze is different. With the eyes of faith we are empowered to have this holistic view.

We can only be healed from the blindness of the soul if we get involved with God, if he comes very close to us with his words and signs. Our life can become more beautiful and richer if we get involved in Jesus. "God's actions shall be revealed to him!" is how Jesus replies to the disciples' question as to whether the young man has sinned or whether his parents have sinned. God's actions can also be revealed to us today.

Gospel of in the reading year A;