Putting Miracles Into Perspective


As we move into the 4th Sunday of Lent, my trusted Cafod Liturgist sheets tell me the teachings I have in store for your cherubs at mass this Sunday.

The gospel (adapted from John 9:1, 6-9) tells the story of Jesus meeting a blind man:

Jesus was walking along when he saw a blind man. The man had been blind since he was born.

Jesus bent down and spat on the ground so that he could make a paste from the dust. He put the paste in the mans’ eyes and then told him to wash it off

The man did as he was told and when he had finished washing, he could see.

The neighbours couldn’t believe it.  “It’s not the same man”, they said. “It’s someone who looks like him.”

Then the man who had been blind said, “it is me.”

When reading this back, what we see on the face of it is Jesus performing a miracle – making the blind man see – and the miracle being witnessed by many. But what do you think happened next?  Did the man shake Jesus’ hand, move on and get on with his life with a whole new perspective?


Maybe not.

I have just finished reading a book about the brain (geeky – don’t judge me), and in it the author tells a story about a man who successfully took part in a cornea transplant. This man was a paralympic ski champion, a father, a husband, and a teacher, despite his blindness (since the age of 3). He knew no different

So when he took his bandages off (in front of the eager media), they all awaited his reaction to having his sight returned.

He looked at his children and smiled.

He looked at his wife and smiled.

He petted his dog.

He stood, walked to the door, and stumbled.

You see, he had his sight back, but his perception had drastically changed.

He no longer recognised his wife as now his brain was trying to process a new image AND match it with a facial image. He recalled being frightened in the car as these huge rectangular shapes came rushing towards him at great speed that his other senses TOLD him that it was traffic, but his perception made them scary, large, fast objects.

He was no longer a good skier. He was no longer able to recognise his children easily. Dog walks were not enjoyable.

So, with Jesus making him see, was this really the miracle we are all in awe of? Or was it just the start of something that Jesus would have assumed to have made the man happy?

I see this all the time as a trainer. For many, I am the “miracle” they are looking for.  Someone to change their lives and take them from being “fat and unhappy” (their words) to “skinny and happy”. But the reality is really quite different.

They realise that work needs to be put in – not just with diet and exercise, but with mindset and attitude. No longer can they decide to have their cake and eat it, but they have to be strong in mind and spirit CONSTANTLY. Abstaining on a regular basis (Lent anyone?!) to get the results they want. Or they think they want…

Quite often people “buy” me for the end destination – “skinny and happy” – and not the journey, which is the hard part.

John didn’t continue tell us what happened after.  But if he had done, would the end result been as clear as a blind man seeing?

Let me know what you think! Feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch on the Contact page. If you think this would interest someone else, please feel free to share.

– Colette


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