John 9:1-9,13-17,34-38

True Blindness

Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”

Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”

He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s eyes, and said, “Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “Sent”). The man went and washed—and saw.

Soon the town was buzzing. His relatives and those who year after year had seen him as a blind man begging were saying, “Why, isn’t this the man we knew, who sat here and begged?”

They marched the man to the Pharisees. This day when Jesus made the paste and healed his blindness was the Sabbath.

 

The Pharisees grilled him again on how he had come to see. He said, “He put a clay paste on my eyes, and I washed, and now I see.”

Some of the Pharisees said, “Obviously, this man can’t be from God. He doesn’t keep the Sabbath.”

Others countered, “How can a bad man do miraculous, God-revealing things like this?” There was a split in their ranks.

They came back at the blind man, “You’re the expert. He opened your eyes. What do you say about him?”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

Others said, “It’s him all right!”

But others objected, “It’s not the same man at all. It just looks like him.”

He said, “It’s me, the very one.”

They said, “You’re nothing but dirt! How dare you take that tone with us!” Then they threw him out in the street.

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.”

Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?”

“Master, I believe,” the man said, and worshiped him.

Reflection

 

“There's none so blind as those who will not see”.

The man Jesus heals has always been blind – he knows nothing about the visual world until Jesus opens his eyes. After he is cured, he can't recognise Jesus by his face, just his voice. But this man who knows so little about seeing, can instantly see that Jesus is “the light of the world.”

Yet some of the Pharisees will not believe the evidence of their own eyes that the man in front of them is the blind beggar they know: 'he just looks like him', they claim. They are capable of seeing , they always have been, but they refuse to accept and try to explain it away. They choose not to see who Jesus really is and what he can do. They dismiss the miracle as 'Fake News', or they look for a negative in what Jesus has done – he's broken the rules by working (a miracle!) on the Sabbath.

Jesus challenges what many people have always accepted – whether it's the laws about the Sabbath or the assumption that a disability like blindness must be a punishment for somebody's sins. He puts the disciples straight on that one – instead of looking for someone to blame for everything, we need to trust in God and get on with doing his work.

There are many descriptions of Jesus healing people in the Gospels, but in most cases, the person asks for his help. The blind man in this story isn't like Blind Bartimaeus shouting to get his attention, and he hasn't come to find him like Jairus who already believes Jesus has the power to heal his daughter.

 

This man is minding his own business when Jesus comes along and gives him sight. Jesus just comes to him and changes his life. When the man is thrown out of the temple because people refuse to believe his story, Jesus looks for him and finds him again, like the Good Shepherd searching for the lost sheep.

Today, Jesus is still challenging our assumptions and calling us to a different way. He comes to us even if we don't make the first move - we just need to be ready to meet him. If we let him, he will find us when we are lost and we struggle to see him.
 

Clare Lewis

Salesian Communications Worker

Prayer

Jesus,


 

You have shown us that you will find us when we are in need:

Help us to recognise you, and to open our hearts to you.


 

Guide us to see the right path in our confusing world;

Keep us from looking for others to blame,

and show us instead how to be positive in doing God's work.


 

Amen