March 30, 2014
LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION!
They say that among the top ten habits of unhappy people is to consistently be arguing with oneself whether to get up from bed each morning. They sigh. They whine. They groan and moan as they complain to themselves about the unfortunate need to rise up and – not shine, mind you – but to pine for what they are about to lose by leaving their beds.
Well, following closely behind this is to be expected … the penchant to look for someone to blame, to shame, to shout at, and point accusing fingers at. He could be the tricycle driver ahead of you; the jeepney driver, or the thoughtless, inconsiderate pedestrian blocking your path. Whoever it is, does not matter. Everyone is fair game to an unhappy person working himself to a frenzy looking for a fight.
The blind man in the gospel does not seem to fit the bill of such an unhappy person. Perhaps you could look at it this way … The disciples were a little in the dark wondering aloud about whose sin it was that made him blind. After answering their theology 101 query, the Lord immediately talked about something important – about the need to work while there is light, for “night is coming when no one can work.”
There is a tone of urgency in the Lord’s words. He did not elaborate on his verbal catechesis, but proceeded to do the catechesis in vivo, in action, in concrete. But first, like any virtuoso film director, the Lord needed to do the basics first: Lights! He did the miracle that was most needed, at that time, on that occasion, for those individuals who were much more in the dark than the man born blind ever was. After enlightening the minds of the confused disciples, he turned to the blind man and gave him sight. Let there be light! That is what the Lord did … He gave the blind man’s sight and led all the others around him to the light. “There is urgent work to do … and we need to do it while there is light!”
The cameras now were whirring. Everyone’s eyes were now focused on him. Camera! And the plot now thickens. Nosy Pharisees got into the picture and asked him questions designed not to ferret out truth, but to discredit the bearer of truth. And since they did not believe something so blatant and clear … since they would not see what is brilliantly obvious … since they preferred to live in the dark rather than see the light, the blind man sprang into action.
Action! Here is where we need to give it to the blind man. He saw much more than those who refused to see. He told them point blank: “He is a prophet.”
There was a time I dabbled in photography … many moons ago. During those days of real film, lighting was everything. If you got no sufficient light, and your lens wasn’t fast enough, or your film with no fast enough ISO/DIN/ASA ratings, you just had one option left – cut down on shutter speed. You need light to see. You need light to shoot. You need light to show anything to people for posterity.
But here’s something crucial. Once you get the light, you need to spring into action. You need to capture the moment. You need to do what you need to do while there is light.
The Holy Father, Pope Francis uses an interesting phrase for the common tendency to not do anything while waiting for the best conditions – diagnostic overload! Too much analysis can really lead to paralysis. He practically tells us to what Jesus himself told the disciples: “We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work.”
Night is inevitably coming for all of us. The light of youth, of health, of physical strength will one day wane, sooner or later. There is a time for everything under the heavens, yes, the good book says, but time is not unlimited. There is a beginning, and an end to everything, and life as we know it in this world, and all its glories, are fast drifting away, as the same good book tells us.
The Lord pounced on this privileged moment of evangelization and catechized both the man born blind and those who preferred to remain in their blindness. He not only healed physical blindness. He also addressed the blatant spiritual blindness of those who would not believe.
I am no spring chicken anymore. Night will soon come for me and for many of us; some sooner, some later. But it will inevitably come. I only have this little window of time left, by God’s grace, to do what little I can do.
The Lord calls us to action. Here. Now. And this is what we all need to do in imitation of Him who said: “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”
Light! Camera! Action!