October 13, 2019

Imagine If God Were to Profile Us

Recently, at the Maryland State House of Delegates an animation video of a late term abortion was shown. It gruesomely depicted the dismemberment of a preborn baby done with sharp forceps. Most of the viewers were horrified by the protracted cruelty they were witnessing. However, when House Delegate Sid Saab asked Rachelle Yeung, an attorney for ACLU of Maryland, what her reaction to the video might be, at first she attempted to skirt the issue by replying with one of the usual robotic answers that we get from rabid pro-abortion advocates.

But when Sid Saab asked her if she considered the procedure inhumane, she finally replied: “No, no sir. To me and to countless others, Miss Yeung’s reply proves how an ideology can so blind someone to the obvious, unequivocal reality as to depart even from basic human decency.

Here is another alarming phenomenon manifesting itself with frightening frequency: the first amendment of our Constitution is being thrashed in about half of our higher education institutions. Conservative speakers are kept from presenting their point of view by having their invitation revoked or through vicious heckling, wild booing, abuse of all kinds and even violence and acts of vandalism.

The level of intolerance is disturbing. Students are indoctrinated by extreme left-wing professors to such a degree that a civil discussion between opposing views is impossible. These students and their misguided mentors are deliberately choosing to be blind to any view and any stance with which they disagree. Their self-induced blindness exposes their cowardliness, mental fragility and panic.

The Gospel of John (9:1-41) addresses the tragedy of people purposely closing their eyes to reality and to the truth. For Christ, who is Truth and Light, this is one of the most tragic sins affecting humanity.

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

The survival of the fitter, at a given segment of time in evolution, depended on how quickly an animal could determine its place in the food chain. Our ancestors, too, had to make lightning-fast choices in order to survive and also they instinctively profiled others as friends or foes.

In spite of all the noise and the lunacy that often accompany political correctness, the fact remains that we all must process what we see before our eyes to quickly separate those from whom we can derive a benefit from those who can hurt us or derail our choices or challenge our preferences and unsettle our hearts—or worse…

Also this is profiling. Even the staunchest advocates of political correctness do it; actually, as the two above-mentioned cases prove, they profile in a disingenuous and, eventually, self-destructive fashion. For expediency, we have all developed our own mold designed to afford us comfort, security, well-being and fend off challenges, discomfort and hurts.

This is the level of “seeing” habitually adopted by the Pharisees as a pattern and also by the disciples before Jesus shattered their assessment mold. The Pharisees were so all hell-bent in applying their mold of what is right and wrong, legal and sinful that they insisted on trying to trump reality and ignore the truth.

Here are two examples…

This man is not from God because he does not keep the Sabbath.”

Reality shouts that Jesus performed a miracle. The truth is that a man born blind now can see. But the Pharisees apply their habitual mold and they conclude that Jesus is a sinner.

“Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner.”

This second case is even more fallacious; it proves that if one insists on trying to trump reality with an ideology he/she becomes delusional.

It is as if they were to say: “Ignore the fact that this man can see for the first time in his life. Give God the praise by agreeing with us because we, who are so knowledgeable, irreprehensible and always right have determined that Jesus is a sinner.”

The disciples, too, applied a traditional mold to what appeared before their eyes: they were seeing a man born blind.

Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

The traditional mold offered only two possible conclusions:  blindness was punishment either for the man’s own sins or his parents’ sins. The good news of this Gospel passage is that Jesus is God in human flesh, present among us to teach us to see reality the way the Father sees it.

Then Jesus 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.” (Jn 9:39)

Jesus comes among us for judgment, i.e. to separate those who are willing to see with the eyes of God from those who are so sure that they see correctly as to insist on trying to trump reality with an ideology that ignores the truth.

We rejoice with the disciples who accepted Jesus’ lesson and were able to see that this serious illness offered an excellent opportunity so that the works of God might be made visible through him. And we pity the Pharisees who were so obsessed with defending their unsustainable stance that, in their religious madness, they became painfully ridiculous.

Imagine if God were to profile us; if he were to see us as his enemies, as repeat offenders or as hopeless sinners: what would happen to us? (see Psalm 130: 3)

We must run to Jesus and beg him to open our eyes to see not foes or moochers or idiots or gullible folks we can exploit but people washed in the blood of the Lamb, brothers and sisters who are as beset with miseries as we are. We ask the Lord to give us his very eyes, eyes of compassion and love so that we may go past our mold and recognize in them his very features.

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Written by
Fr Dino Vanin

REVEREND DINO VANIN, PIME was born in Cendon di Silea, Province of Treviso, Italy in 1946. He entered the PIME Seminary at Treviso at the tender age of eleven. He came to the U.S. in 1968, studying Theology at Darlington Major Seminary in New Jersey. He has an MA in Secondary School Administration from Seton Hall University. Ordained in 1972, he served as an administrator, teacher, rector and principal at the PIME High School Seminary in Newark, Ohio before being sent to the missions of Thailand, where he served for six years. He is currently the Treasurer of the U.S. Region of PIME in Detroit. On December 16, 2018 he was installed as Pastor of San Francesco Catholic Church in Clinton Township, MI. Every week he takes some time off from his parish ministry to do some administrative work at PIME headquarters in Detroit. Due to his increased workload at the parish while continuing as Treasurer of the U. S. Region of PIME and as counselor and spiritual director, he spends any time left doing a little woodworking.

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Written by Fr Dino Vanin
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