From a Creighton Student's Perspective
March 2nd, 2008
Sophomore; Undecided Major
Of course appearances can be deceiving. We elevate people’s status based on their appearances and perceived personalities. People put on makeup, excessively drink alcohol, and shun others all in an attempt to create a person they aren’t – the pretty one, the tough one, the popular one. We use our appearances to elevate ourselves above those whom we wish not to talk to or be seen eating dinner with.
However, in this same manner we degrade, demote, and dispose of those whom we see as unfit, ugly, or different. The Gospel today gives us the example of the blind man who is given his literal and spiritual sight by Jesus. This man’s society, like our own, lowers the credibility, social status, and power of this man because he is seen as different and therefore, less of a person. His appearance allows people to make themselves appear to be superior and dominating. As a society, we see people who are mentally, physically, or socially handicapped as just that, handicapped in their ability to be the pretty one, the tough one, or the popular one. However, as Jesus says in today’s Gospel, those among us who have disabilities are not lower than anyone because the goal of being popular is not a desirable objective. In fact, God specifically made people with disabilities so that “the works of God might be made visible through him [or her].”
In a culture that prenatally screens babies for potential disabilities so that parents know that their new child will have this “disease” or handicap, it may be hard for us to see how a baby girl with Down's syndrome can be a conduit of God’s love. “Do not judge her appearance” because humans do not see as God sees. Because where humans see external appearances, “the Lord looks into the heart.” This is a command from God that not only says that appearances do not matter, but they impair one from truly knowing another person.
In my experiences in getting to know children and adults with mental and physical disabilities, I have learned that I am in no way more able to understand compassion, love, or generosity than they are. In fact, I am disabled in understanding how tremendous God’s love is that exists in their presence. “I was blind and now I see” is not something that I am able to say, because I am still blind to truly seeing into people’s hearts. But it is my challenge to overcome my disability to see who people truly are.
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