One of my favorite Disney movies is Tangled. It’s a retelling of the fairy tale Rapunzel. One of the themes in the movie is that Rapunzel and Flynn have accepted a certain way of life. Rapunzel thought that she would always be trapped in her tower while Flynn thought he would find fulfillment once he’s rich. By the time that Flynn helps Rapunzel watch the lanterns that get sent up to the sky, they both realize that they can no longer live with their old perspectives and find a new dream: finding love with each other.
Today’s passages both involve a man being cured of blindness and gaining a new perspective in the process. Tobit gets cured of his temporary blindness and praises God’s mercy, while Tobias tells his family about his journey and introduces them to Sarah. In the Gospel of John, the man who was born blind is cured of the blindness that plagued him all his life and deals with the scrutiny of his parents and the Pharisees.
Both Tobit and the man born blind understand that God was the one who cured them of their affliction. What I like especially about the passage from the Gospel is that the man born blind recognizes Jesus as the Son of Man but the Pharisees, in spite of their claims that God listens to them because they are devout and do His will, are spiritually blind, refusing to see Jesus as their Messiah.
Another similarity between the two passages in today’s reflection is that God used the fish’s gall to cure Tobit of his blindness and Jesus used clay and spit to cure the man who was born blind. Something I learned from reading the works of St. Thomas Aquinas is that God works through secondary causes. The idea of divine intervention or the deus ex machina is always a possibility, but for whatever reason, God, more often than not, works through something in order to accomplish a miracle.
Think of it this way. If Rapunzel was just taken out of the tower to her actual parents, she may never have known that the woman who kidnapped her was never her real mother or have fallen in love with Flynn. If Flynn didn’t have his crazy adventure with Rapunzel, he would’ve stayed a selfish thief, caring for nobody except himself. Through the adventure that Rapunzel and Flynn have, they both realize how limited their perspectives are and how much they need each other.
I’m the kind of person who believes that everything happens for a reason, even the stuff that doesn’t have an easy explanation. It doesn’t mean that I always get an answer for the things I don’t understand, but my faith in God gives me hope that someday, I will understand. A friend of mine told me “If you haven’t found your answer, you haven’t looked in the right place, you haven’t listened, or you listened, but didn’t accept the answer.”
Today, ask God to open the eyes of your heart. Ask Him to help you find the answers to things you don’t understand or to help you accept peacefully the things that are seemingly unimaginable.
STUDY QUESTIONS: Think of a time when you felt like you were acting blindly. How did your perspectives on that situation change? What are some unresolved issues that you have in your life? How do you think having faith helps us with what we don’t understand?