30 March John 9:1-41 -- Justice Reflection on the Gospel
‘As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”’
The early Hebrew people thought God would punish generations of children for the sins of their parents (Exodus 20:5). Later the prophet Ezekiel writes (18:1, 20): ‘The word of the Lord came to me: “A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent . . .” ‘ Ezekiel reveals a God who does not punish the innocent.
In responding to the disciples who are stuck in old ideas about God, Jesus goes further yet: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed.” And then he heals him. Jesus is the perfect revelation of the God of love.
Today some people blame the parents for the problem of child poverty, claiming that poor parents are irresponsible and undeserving, and that assistance for their children perpetuates a culture of dependence.
When Jesus says “We must work the works of him who sent me,” he appoints us his agents on earth. We sometimes hesitate to claim this role; it can put us in uncomfortable positions.
• Are we called to speak prophetically, as Ezekiel did, when our leaders oppose assistance for poor families?
• Do we fear offending or rocking the boat? When should we confront mean- spiritedness?
• Are we reluctant to proclaim God’s unconditional love out of concern it would encourage irresponsibility and self-destructive behavior?
• What can we do here and now to advocate for a more just and loving society for God’s children — of all ages?