Pope: Open your eyes and be surprised by God's gifts

At the Sunday Angelus in Saint Peter's Square, Pope Francis says may we, like the blind man who regains his sight from Jesus, open our eyes and be surpised by the gifts of God in our lives that offer us in turn occasions to do good for others.

By Thaddeus Jones

Welcoming pilgrims to Saint Peter's Sqaure for the midday Angelus, Pope Francis offered his customary reflections on the day's Gospel before leading the recitation of the Angelus prayer. Recalling how Jesus gives sight to a man blind from birth, the Pope described how this miracle brought about a variety of reactions in people.

The Pope added that we should all read this episode in the Gospel of John recounting this miracle of Jesus, a short and beautiful story of how much the Lord loves us. We read how people respond in different ways to the Lord's gift of sight to the blind man, whether with a welcome heart, a lukewarm heart, a fearful heart, or a courageous heart.

Blind to the wonder

The Pope went on to describe the variety of reactions to the blind man's situation. Jesus' disciples look for a culprit for the blindness, asking whether the blind man or his parents had sinned and thereby caused it. The Pope said instead we should ask what the blind man's presence in our lives means for us and what the Lord is asking of us.

Others react in different ways, he noted, like those who do not believe he was really blind and his parents who do not speak the amazing truth out of fear of upsetting the religious authorities.

The common element in these reactions are "hearts closed in front of the sign of Jesus: because they seek a culprit, because they do not know how to be surprised, because they do not want to change, because they are blocked by fear."

“I was blind, now I see”

The blind man instead reacts well to what has happened by simply testifying to what has happened with surprise, gratitude and joy, saying, “I was blind, now I see.” He is now free in body and spirit, bearing open witness to Jesus without fear, the Pope said, unafraid of what others will say or do, having lived a difficult life before of begging and being considered a cursed outcast. 

“Now healed, he no longer fears those contemptuous attitudes because Jesus has given him his full dignity – on the sabbath in front of everyone, Jesus liberated him and gave him sight without asking him anything, not even a thank you, and he bears witness to this.”

How would you react?

In conclusion, the Pope said we should put ourselves in the shoes of the protagonists in this Gospel episode and think about how we would have reacted then, and what we would do today. Are we able to see and be grateful for the gifts we receive from God, he asked. Do we bear witness to the love and mercy of Jesus, or do we spread criticism and negativity out of our fears and weaknesses? Are we open to sharing with others our joy over the gifts God offers us daily, or do we keep this reaction inside, caged by our fears? And finally, do we view the physical or social challenges of others as a bother, or as occasions to draw near to them with consolation and love?

“Let us ask the grace to be surprised every day by God’s gifts and to see the various circumstances of life, even the most difficult to accept, as occasions to do good, as Jesus did with the blind man. May Our Lady help us in this, together with Saint Joseph, the just and faithful man.”

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19 March 2023, 12:20

The Angelus is a special prayer recited by Catholics three times a day, at 6am, noon, and 6pm and is accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell. The name comes from the Latin word for Angel and the prayer itself reminds us of how Jesus Christ assumed our human nature through the Mystery of the Incarnation.
The Pope recites the Angelus prayer in St Peter’s Square every Sunday at midday.
He also gives a brief reflection on the Gospel of the day and often comments on some issue of international concern. The Pope’s words are broadcast all over the world on radio and television and widely shared on social media.
From Easter to Pentecost the Regina Coeli is prayed instead of the Angelus. This prayer commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and, like the Angelus, concludes with the recitation of the Gloria three times.

Latest Angelus / Regina Coeli

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