“What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you guys? What is wrong with you people?” Have you ever heard that said to you? “What is wrong with you?” Then you ask yourself “What is wrong with me? I don’t know.”
It is that sense of condemnation that just strikes at the core of our being. The blind man, as we heard in The Gospel today, was condemned in the same way. And so was Jesus. With the blind man, they said to him “You know there’s got to be something wrong with you. What is wrong with you? Who sinned? Either you sinned or your parents had to sin for you to be born blind.”
Teens, I am sure you hear this all the time, “What is wrong with you?” And the answer is … nothing. There is nothing wrong with you except sin. That is the only thing wrong with us. And the only one that can judge us is Jesus. And the only one who can judge others is Jesus. The only one that can condemn us is Jesus. Here is the wonderful thing: the reality is, there is nothing wrong with us except our sins. The truth is we can’t get rid of our sins. We can’t do it. You can’t do it on your own.
There was a heresy back in the early Church called the Pelagian Heresy. It was during the first couple of hundred years the Holy Spirit guided the Church. This heresy actually spread throughout most of the Church. Most people believed that you had to be perfect. You had to make yourself perfect before you could receive the Sacraments. It became a heresy. The reality is that we are not perfect. We are sinful people. A lot of people say, to you people and about you people, to me actually, that we’re hypocrites. They believe people that go to Mass are hypocrites because they go to Mass and they are still sinners. We are not hypocrites because we come to every single Mass. The first thing that we do at Mass after the Sign of the Cross is acknowledge our sins. We come before God and we say, “God I am sinful.” Then we ask Him to heal us.
In the Gospel today we hear about the man born blind. In the Gospel of John, darkness and blindness is always a metaphor for sin. Lightness (light) or daylight is always a metaphor for Jesus and the redemption of sin. The man is blind. . They said, “This man is either a sinner or his parents are sinners. What is wrong with this man that he is like this?” Jesus said, “There is nothing wrong with him. He was made blind by God so that he can glorify God. Made blind so that he could actually see.” It is a paradox at the end of the Gospel where Jesus says, “If you think you can see, you’re blind. If you admit that you’re blind, you can actually see.” Jesus actually makes us blind so that we can see.
What does that mean? I just want you to think about that. What is wrong with you? Think about it. If I were to ask you and you were to tell me what you think is wrong with you or what other people have said is wrong with you, could you? I want you, first of all, to get in touch with that.
Now the tendency is to judge ourselves and to say, “That must be because I am a sinful person. I am a really bad person.” But that’s not the truth. The truth is that you are created in the image and in the likeness of God. There’s nothing wrong with you except you sin. Now we can think that sin is this thing, and it is horrible, but we can think that this is the thing in our life that’s going to keep us so separate from God that it’s just going to terribly wound us and in the end take us down. If we do try to conquer our sin ourselves, we’re going to fail. We’re going to fail because we cannot conquer sin. The only one who can conquer sin is . . . Jesus. We cannot do it. I want you to think about that.
First of all, Lent is a time to acknowledge our sin and also turn towards Him. It’s also a time in which we’re supposed to do some kind of prayer, fasting, and alms giving. How many of you have not failed at all during Lent in any prayer, fasting, and alms giving? Raise your hands if you have not failed one single bit during Lent. We can’t truthfully say that, right? Raise your hand if you have failed just a little bit, like in some way. What’s wrong with you? The reality is, we fail and we sin.
You know, there is something tremendous and crippling in our human nature and our fallen nature, but the only thing that we can do is acknowledge it. If we try to get rid of it ourselves, we’re going to fail. We’re going to be miserable. We’re going to be miserable to ourselves and to others. The idea is, we’re not supposed to judge ourselves. Who is the only one that can judge us? Jesus. We’re not even supposed to judge ourselves. All we can do is go before Jesus and say, “Jesus, I’m blind. Can you heal me?” He can put mud in our eyes, spit on the ground, and heal us. I just want you to get in touch with that. If someone would say to you right now, “What is wrong with you?” get in touch with whatever sin it is that is wrong with you. But, instead of judging yourself or condemning yourself, say “Jesus this is wrong with me, can you heal it?”
What I love about the man born blind is that was just him. He was blind and he accepted it. Jesus healed him and after he was healed they threw him out of the temple. They kicked him out. He is exiled from the community and Jesus came to find him. He loves him and He said to him, “Do you know who the Lord is?” And the man said “I don’t know.” I love the blind man because he said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I know my eyes were healed. I know Jesus did it. I don’t know how it happened.” Jesus said, “Do you know who the Lord is?” He said, “I don’t know. Can you tell me?” Jesus said, “I am He.” At that moment, he professes his faith and he worships Him. That really is the only way out of sin. Discover who Jesus is and worship Him.
Those of you who are going through RCIA right now, we’re celebrating your Scrutiny. Part of the Scrutiny is to help remove whatever blindness there may be so you can really see Jesus. Once you see Him, you are going to want to worship Him because He is the only man in the history of humanity that can heal us from our blindness. He is the only one that can take care of our sins.
Maybe you think your sin is unmanageable, and if you do . . . good, because it’s not manageable. You can’t manage it. You can’t handle it yourself but the wonderful thing is, Jesus can. He has you. He can handle your sin. He can actually take care of whatever problem you think is too great. Whatever sin you have been struggling with for years, He can heal you. He does so in the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist, right now. The next time someone asks you “What is wrong with you?” Just simply think to yourself . . . “nothing.” Then go to God and say, “God, if there is something wrong with me, if I am blind, can you heal me of my sin?” It’s only in admitting our blindness that He can heal us.