In today’s gospel we hear the story of the man who was born blind. In those days, serious illnesses like blindness were seen as punishment for sin. So, seeing the man who was been blind from birth, Jesus’ disciples ask him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?“.
His blindness is not punishment for sin but it does have another purpose. Jesus tells them that the man was born blind “so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” Jesus, who is “the light of the world,” is bringing light to his disciples’ understanding of suffering.
Jesus then “spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay of his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam”…So, he went and washed, and came back able to see.”
He who was born blind can now see. This should have been a time for rejoicing. Instead there is questioning, doubt, and even rejection of Jesus. It starts with what might have been legitimate wondering. Those who had seen the man born blind before, wonder if the man who can now see is the same man. He tells him that he is the man who they know was born blind.
So, they ask him, “How were your eyes opened?”. He tells them how Jesus made clay, anointed his eyes, and told him to wash in the pool at Siloam.”
Then, they take him to the Pharisees. The Pharisees ask the man how his eyes were opened. He tells them what Jesus did. Do they rejoice in his healing? No! They say, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.” They fail to see the power of God at work. Yet, there are those who realize something great has happened. They say, “How can a sinful man do such signs?“.
In the midst of those who reject Jesus, because of their questioning, the man who had been born blind came to see Jesus as a prophet. He has not only gained physical sight but is now gaining spiritual sight. Those who reject Jesus see only what they want to see. They have closed their own eyes, becoming spiritually blind. We need to ask for the grace to see as God sees.
The people do not relent in their rejection of Jesus. They tell the man, “Give God the praise! We know that his man is a sinner.” The man does not fully understand who Jesus is but he knows they are missing the significance of what has happened. He said to them, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see…This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.”
It is the man who had been born blind who knows that Jesus “were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.” He knows Jesus has been sent by God.
Those who reject Jesus threw the man out. It is in that moment that Jesus comes to him and says, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?“. The man wants to believe, asking, “Who is he, that I may believe in him?“. Jesus says He is the Son of Man. The man first had his physical eyesight cured. Now, his spiritual eyes have been opened. He sees Jesus as the Son of Man. He who lived in the darkness has come to see the light. Those who had been given a great faith have become blind because they closed themselves off to seeing the works that Jesus did as the signs they were from God.
How well do you see?
Do you see as the world sees or do you see as God sees?
We live in this world but we are created for something greater. We are tempted by the pleasures of this world. That can lead us into the darkness of sin. We need the Light of Christ to see what is really going on. The devil wants to trap us in darkness, preventing us from seeing the bad consequences of our actions. He makes evil look good.
You have been given the Light of Christ in Baptism. Allow this Light to help you see in the darkness. The world must not dictate how we see our faith. It is our faith that should dictate how we see the world.