The readings for yesterday and today from the Gospel of John all deal with the same situation – a man who was born blind whose sight is restored (actually can it be restored if he never could see before?) by Jesus and the “investigation” that follows. Its a story that starts out beautifully encouraging and then gets mired in muck as you go along. You have those who were Jesus’ opponents who are going after this man, his parents, and Jesus too because of the healing. In a lot of ways while the man is healed and can see, the passage is also reflecting on the blindness of Jesus’ opponents who are missing the miracle and the wonder and the power in the midst of their concerns about whether this man is telling people that Jesus is a prophet or the Messiah.
Its easy to target these opponents of Jesus but don’t we do the same at times. We are blinded by our own prejudices, our own worldviews, our own woundedness and we miss the people God has placed into our lives. We miss the celebration of God’s work. We miss lifting up the deeds of power that have taken place.
I recently had one of my monthly appointments with my spiritual director and I have driven out of where we meet many times over but it wasn’t until yesterday that I saw this sign and the contrast. As you drive out, this sign blesses with the greeting of St Francis…”Pax et Bonum”…which is what he would say to just about anyone he would meet. Translated it is “Peace and Good” or “Peace and all Good Things” or some variation upon it. I find it interesting that right next to this is the other side of the stop sign. When you look at these signs from the other side, you see the front of the stop sign and directions and arrows to different places in the area and not the words of blessing.
Jesus’ opponents in this story were about the stop sign and the “directions” and the “rules” but not about the Pax et Bonum. The man in the story had received a gift from Jesus of a new form of peace and a good thing that he had never experienced before.
I want to be one offering the blessing to others – Pax et bonum…