Cataracts

The light of the body is the eye….  Matthew 6:22

 

I was a young man when I met my first completely blind person. I happen to be visiting the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind (VSDB).  A young man came walking down the sidewalk and sensing my presence, enter into a friendly conversation with me. I still remember being amazed at the young man’s intelligence and spirit, and warm friendliness. I wondered then as I wonder now what it must be like to be completely blind. Well, I had the experience of having an injury to one eye that caused me to be sensitive to light. So, for almost a day, I sat in a dark room with no windows and with both eyes completely covered. I gained a better appreciation of that condition, I can tell you.

Jesus uses the physical sense of sight to speak to us of what we might call “the mind’s eye.” Just as light comes through the physical eye and illuminates the mind, so  our souls have a window or eye. And just as the loss of sight creates an inner and physical darkness, so the loss of vision in our soul’s eye also causes great spiritual darkness.  As the Lord pointed out, when this happens the darkness can be great and terrible.

I think that the first person I remember having cataracts was my grandmother. I remember how she struggled with the loss of vision. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of that which creates cataracts in the eye of the soul. He speaks of two things here, but to be certain, there are more things that can do it. The first thing is what do you fear and the second is who do you love.

I’ve had relatives who have suffered with intense anxiety disorder. It is a terrible and debilitating condition. Thankfully, we found those who helped and so my family members have recovered and learned how to manage.  The Lord says that anxiety is that which clouds the eye of the soul. He asks again and again why we are so anxious about life and its demands. Of course, it is an anxious age in which we live and we can quote many reasons to be fearful, but the truth is that every moment in our history has been filled with reasons to be anxious. The problem is that, as St. Paul states, fear is used to bind us to our sins. To counter against this fear requires that we remember some things about the nature of God. If He manages all of creation, will He not also manage you? So what do you fear or who do you trust?

The second thing that the Lord mentions about spiritual blindness is about who you love and to what do you owe your loyalty. He said that you cannot love God and love money (mammon) at the same time. It is like serving two different masters. I would like to make something clear. Money in itself is not the “root of all evil.” It is the LOVE of money that is the root of evil. It is this inner disposition that is at issue and it is this love blinds us so that we feel less dependent upon God. In the Torah, God tells Moses that the land that they will posses will not be like the land of Egypt. In Egypt, they “watered their garden with their feet.”  This refers to the pumps that they would work with their legs to bring up water out of the ground to irrigate their crops. With such a device, why worry about God or whether it rains today or not? I just work my little pump and all is well. However, in the new land, the people will have to wait upon God who decides if it will rain or not.

In the world today, you can ask many possibly embarrassing questions about people and they will answer. But if you want to get them angry, ask them how much money they make. The mere question will cause them to remind you that its none of your business. Why? Because we seem to determine our value and worth by how much money we make. There is a reason why we use money to value and validate ourselves. Say that I go up to the check out person at the supermarket with a gallon of milk. His question to me is basically who have I served or what good have I done to deserve the milk. I reply that I have served others, but what proof do I have? I produce a certificate of service-in this case a 5 dollar bill- and so the milk is purchased and I am on my way.  What the love of money can do is to cause me to strive to gain it without being of service to anyone. If this is the case, I can cause much damage and mischief to myself and others. The damage done to myself is that my eye because blinded with cataracts.

So, just like those with cataracts have surgery to restore their sight, what can we do to restore our inner vision? Jesus again gives the prescription – “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  This saying alone is worth many sermons, but all I will say at this point is that if we want to keep our inner vision open to light, or if you need to restore your eye, this is the only way to go.


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