Sunday, March 2, 2008

Benedict XVI Warns Against Blindness of Pride

Says Christ Comes as Light to Heal

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2008 ( Benedict XVI says that even religion can become part of man's tendency to construct ideological systems, but constructing these systems leads to the blindness of egotism.

The Pope affirmed this today before praying the midday Angelus with thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Holy Father first noted that the Lenten liturgy is symbolic of baptism.

"Last Sunday Jesus promised the Samaritan woman the gift of 'living water'; today, healing the blind man, Jesus reveals himself as the 'light of the world'; next Sunday, resurrecting his friend Lazarus from the dead, he will present himself as 'the resurrection and the light,'" he said. "Water, light, life: These are symbols of baptism, the sacrament that 'immerses' believers in the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, freeing them from the slavery of sin and granting them eternal life."

Then turning his attention to the reading from today's liturgy, the Pontiff discussed the story of the man born blind.

Benedict XVI recalled how Jesus affirmed that the man's blindness was not the consequence of his or his parents' sin, and said "What comfort these words offer us."

"They allow us to hear the living voice of God, who is provident and wise Love! Before the man marked by limitation and suffering Jesus does not think about possible faults, but about the will of God that created man for life," he said. "And he immediately takes action: With a little bit of earth and saliva he makes some mud and spreads it on the eyes of the blind man.

"This gesture alludes to the creation of man, which the Bible recounts with the symbol of earth that is formed and animated by the breath of God. 'Adam,' in fact, means 'soil,' and the human body is indeed composed of elements of the earth. Healing the man, Jesus brings about a new creation."


The Pope noted how the healing provoked "heated debate" because Jesus cured the man on the Sabbath.

"Thus, at the end of the episode, Jesus and the blind man meet up again, both being chased out by the Pharisees: one because he violated the law and the other because, despite the healing, he remains marked as a sinner from birth," he said.

The Holy Father explained how Jesus goes on to associate blindness with pride.

"To the blind man whom he healed Jesus reveals that he has come into the world for judgment, to separate the blind who can be healed from those who do not allow themselves to be healed because they presume that they are healthy," he said. "The tendency in man to construct an ideological system of security is strong: Even religion itself can become an element in this system, as can atheism, or secularism; but in constructing this system, one becomes blind to his own egoism."

Benedict XVI concluded with an exhortation to "allow Jesus to heal us, Jesus who can and wants to give us the light of God! Let us confess our own blindnesses, our myopias, and above all that which the Bible calls the 'great sin': pride."

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