During rush hour in Chicago near the corner of Melbourne Ave and Michigan Ave, a blind man was having trouble crossing the street. Soon he felt the presence of another man standing next to him. The man asked, “are you crossing the street?” The blind answer “yes!” The man grabbed the blind man’s hand and they began to cross the busy street.
The blind man heard screeching tires, horns honking, and people yelling. They nervously continued on, the blind man convinced they were about to be killed at any second. Finally, they reached the other side of the street safely. The blind man screamed, “You are the worst guide in the whole world! You almost got us killed!” The man standing next to him said, “Are you kidding me?! You’re blind too?!”
This is a humorous story that reflects Jesus’ own bit of humor in today’s Gospel. We often doubt whether Jesus had a sense of humor as he was always very serious in his mannerisms and interactions with others. I have always thought this Gospel passage reflected Jesus’ sense of humor, as he describes absurd and also humorous examples to make his point. A man with a wooden beam in his own eye (this always sounded very painful) attempts to remove a sliver in someone else’s eye, is an absurd situation which is quite humorous. The same is true for a blind guide, leading another blind man, an example that seems to come right out of a Charlie Chaplain film.
While Jesus uses humor to make his point, there is a definite edge to his humor. The reason something is funny is because there is some element of truth, something people know or have experienced. In this situation, Jesus’ humor begs the question, who are the blind men suppose to represent? Who is the one with the wooden beam in his eye and the one with the splinter?
The point is made through Jesus’ humor, that we at times can be any or all characters represented in Jesus’ example. We should be less interested in making someone else see, when we do nothing or neglect our own sight. In other words, we should be concerned more with how we see and respond to Jesus, rather than worry about other people’s view of Christ.
Rev. James Kirby