Let me tell you a little bit about Simeon, some things you may not know, some things that might surprise you.
Simeon is often identified as one of the seventy Hebrew scholars who translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Greek, what we know as the Septuagent. He surely was aware of Malachi’s prophecy, “The Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.” Simeon, as St. Luke tells it, had also been promised that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
Simeon has been waiting, anticipating, and preparing a long time for the fulfillment of that prophecy and promise. Not just years or even decades but centuries. Our sacred tradition says that Simeon was more than 270 years old when he received Jesus in his arms. It’s no surprise then that Christian iconography shows Simeon to be old and hunched over, as if the years of waiting weigh heavy upon him. But there’s more. Our tradition also says that Simeon was blind.
How can this be? Two hundred seventy years old? Blind? What could a 270 year old blind man possibly see? None of this makes sense. Blind men don’t see. So, do we deny the tradition and declare it to be untrue, just wrong? Do we discount Simeon’s own words, “My eyes have seen your salvation?” Continue reading “Blindness and Seeing, A Sermon on Luke 2:22-40”
“My teacher, let me see again.” It’s the obvious answer to Jesus’ question. What else would a blind man ask for? It may be the obvious answer but it is not always the answer given. No one wants to be blind. That’s not the question. The deeper question is whether we really want to see. Do we really want to see the reality of our lives, things done and left undone, who we are and who we are not? Do we really want to see the needs of our neighbor, the poor, or the marginalized? Do we really want to see the injustices of the world? Do we really want to see who Jesus is and not just who we wish or want him to be?
“Do you really want to see?” That’s the question Bartimaeus must answer. True seeing is more than simply observing with our physical eyes. It implies relationship and a deeper knowing and understanding. This happens when we see with the eyes of faith. This seeing, however, is not without risk. If we really want to see then we must be willing to change and be changed. We must be willing to leave behind what is to receive what might be.
The collect and readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent may be found here. The appointed gospel is John 9:1-41. 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?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works … Continue reading “Surely we are not blind, are we?” – A Sermon on John 9:1-41, Lent 4A