In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we happen to hear stories about how hard or even bad life was in the past. For example, we know that once most people were very poor and a few were very rich. We also know that slavery used to exist here in this country. In the past there were some terrible wars and battles and thousands were killed within just a few hours. We know for instance that in Victorian times people worked very long hours, twelve hours a day, six days a week. We also know that life expectancy was shorter. Medical knowledge was not very developed and many children died in infancy. If you survived the first few years, you would often live no longer than 65 or 70. We also know that fashions in clothing and hairstyle have changed a great deal. Clothes were very different even a hundred years ago, men were always bearded and before that rich people shaved their hair and wore wigs. Some of those fashions we find ridiculous and very impractical.
When we hear such things, we tend to think, well, life is all much better now.
And yet, is everything much better?
When we think about it, life is better in some ways, but in other ways it is not. So for example, worldwide, we are very rich, but there are billions of people in other countries who are very poor. Though today the situation is even stranger, because there are a billion people who are dying because they do not eat enough and there are another billion people who are dying because they eat too much or because the food they eat is contaminated by artificial additives which make them obese. We know that slavery still exists in many countries, in fact, it exists here in this country in the form of wage slavery. Still today there are terrible wars and in fact they are much more terrible than in the past, because now there is the technology to kill millions in just a few hours. In many parts of the world, people still work very long hours in bad conditions. As for life expectancy, in many places it is very short. And as for here, people do live ten or twenty years longer, but what quality of life do they have? Many in rich countries complain about loneliness and there are those who prefer suicide to life, something which was very rare before and does not exist in poor countries. As for fashions, every day we can see ourselves the most incredible fashions and hairstyles on the streets. We do not even have to wait for the next generation for people to say how funny they think today’s fashions are. Most terrible of all, nowadays there are abortions – 200,000 every year just in this country, that is millions of dead children since this practice was made lawful.
Therefore, we can be sure that just as we criticize life in the past, in years to come people will criticize modern life and will find our life strange. Why is this? Why do we justify our way of life, but find the way of life in the past or in other countries strange? Why can we not learn from the mistakes of the past? Why, as well, do we always make new mistakes? Why are we so wrong? Why can we see the mistakes of others, but not of ourselves?
Often, in talking about the past, people will use the word ‘hindsight’ and they say ‘With the benefit of hindsight…’, or, ‘Hindsight is a wonderful thing’. Hindsight means looking back, it means if we had known in the past what we know now, we would have acted in a different way. Thus we justify our mistakes.
The opposite of hindsight is foresight. Foresight means looking ahead, providing for the future, predicting what we will need to do. Foresight is considered to be a gift.
Both these words, hindsight and foresight, give us clues in order to understand how wrong we can be. Both words contain the word ‘sight’. In other words, we lack hindsight and we lack foresight, we make mistakes, because we have no sight, we cannot see. In other words, we are like the man in today’s Gospel, who was blind.
How can we, who are spiritually blind, regain our sight?
There is only one way. It is in today’s Gospel. The only way to regain our sight is to have faith. In our Lord’s words in today’s Gospel: ‘Receive thy sight; thy faith has made thee whole’. If we have faith in Christ, Who is our Maker, then we have faith in the Eternal One, in Him Who is beyond past, present and future, in Eternity, Who sees all things. He is sighted in time, because He made time, because He is sighted outside time, in Eternity.
O Lord, grant us hindsight and foresight, that we may not be spiritually blind to our faults, that we may gain insight and so live our lives according to Thy commandments. Amen