- Sr Siobhán
Jesus heals a blind man
Lent Week 4. Sunday
Reading: John 9: 1-41
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man or his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, ‘Go wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent) Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, ‘Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some were saying, ‘It is he.’ Others were saying, ‘No, but it is someone like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the man.’ But they kept asking him, ‘Then how were your eyes opened?’ He answered, the man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.’ They said to him, ‘Where is he?’ He said, I do not know. They brought to the Pharisees the man who formerly had been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened the eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed and now I see.’ Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not from God, for he does not observe the Sabbath.’ But others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?’ And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, ‘What do you say about him?’ It was your eyes he opened.’ He said, ‘He is a prophet.’
The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man, who had received his sight and asked them, ‘Is this your son, who you say was born blind?’ How then does he now see? His parents answered, ‘We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.’ His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, ‘He is of age; ask him.’ So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner. He answered, ‘I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know that though I was blind, now I see.’ They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He answered them, ‘I have told you already and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?’ Then they reviled him saying, ‘You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of one born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing. They answered him, ‘You were born entirely in sins, and are you now trying to teach us?’ And they drove him out. Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ He answered, ‘And who is he, sir? Tell me so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘Lord, I believe.’ And he worshipped him. Jesus said, ‘I came into the world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see, may become blind.’ Some of the Pharisees near him heard him and said to him, ‘Surely we are not blind, are we? Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see, your sin remains.’
Reflection Jesus uses this scenario to teach us that illness or disability are not a punishment for sin. We see how he touches the life of one man so that the works of God could be displayed in him. Jesus was totally committed to carrying out the will of his father and restoring all to fullness of life. He healed the sick, (Mark 1:34), raised the dead, (Luke 7: 11-17) and now restores sight to a blind man. An important aspect of his mission was to restore hope to the lives of all people and demonstrate the kindness, mercy and compassion of God. Each new touch of his love was a revelation of the power of God and an opportunity to draw people closer to his heavenly father.
Jesus touched the eyes of a blind beggar, and asked him to ‘go and wash’. In obedience to Jesus, the man did what was asked of him and had his sight restored. Jesus chooses whoever he wishes to reveal the power and mystery of God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, this man expressed a desire to believe in God and Jesus revealed himself to him. The man worshipped him. The reaction of the Pharisees clearly demonstrate that they are more interested in the keeping of laws, which when misinterpreted do not bring life. They are outraged because they feel that Jesus has not kept the Sabbath. Jesus wishes to show mercy to the needs of humanity and wants people to have mercy rather than compulsion to something that may restrict the flow of God’s energy through the soul of the person. His act of compassion and the outcome of a simple, human touch coupled with obedience reveals his messianic mission.
Stubborn of heart, the Pharisee failed to acknowledge the mission of Jesus and question the man’s parents who in their fear fail to acknowledge Jesus. I ask myself, ‘what fears block me from acknowledging Jesus as Lord of my life? I am invited to take ownership of my baptismal inheritance as a child of God, reflect on his teaching and commit my life to him as his disciple. Jesus will reveal himself to me too if I ask him so that I may draw ever closer to him. He can and will heal my spiritual blindness if I ask him. The choice is mine. Prayer
Lord, I unite my prayer with that of the blind beggar.
I place myself at your mercy.
May all my blindness be healed;
May the paste of your mercy cleanse my soul of all sin.
May my heart worship you.
May the words, ‘Lord, I believe draw others to you,
May You be glorified, forever, Amen.