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*Image: Christ Healing the Blind by El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), ca. 1570 [The MET, New York]. The man and woman in the lower section of the painting are thought to depict the blind man’s parents.

By Randall Smith, The Catholic Thing, April 5, 2022

Randall B. Smith is a Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas. …

Randall SmithIn an interesting passage in John 9, Jesus and his disciples pass by a man “blind from birth.”  His disciples ask: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  This is a common question.  People see something bad, even a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake, and they wonder: “Whose fault is this?”  After an earthquake, someone wonders why God is “punishing” them.

This tendency is not exclusive to Christians.  It was even more common in the ancient pagan world. In Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Tyrannus, a plague is besetting Thebes, and King Oedipus wants to know who is to blame. Clearly, the gods are punishing Thebes for someone’s fault, and Oedipus is determined to discover the culprit. So he calls upon the blind “seer” Tiresias to uncover who is to blame. …

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