The Blind Will See
This Sunday at mass, we will hear from the Gospel of John about the man born blind. I have often wondered what it must be like to be unable to see the beauty of God’s creation with my own eyes. Let alone not be able to see faces of friends and family.
In John 9:1-41, Jesus encounters a man “blind from birth.” His disciples ask if the man is blind due to his sin or his parent’s sin. In Jesus’ day, physical deformity or illness was attributed to punishment for sin. Jesus answer is that neither he nor his parents caused his blindness, but that “it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”
Jesus spits on the ground, makes clay and smears it on the man’s eyes. It is interesting that John uses the word clay, because it parallels Gen 2:7 which says, “the Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.” Jesus is making the man into a new creation, just as God did in the book of Genesis.
After he rubs the clay over the man’s eyes he tells him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. This should scream out to us as a sign of baptism. Jesus wants the man to wash in the water to be purified of his blindness. John’s Gospel is often called the most sacramental Gospel of the four, because he is able to connect the sacramentality of Jesus’ words and deeds.
After the man washes, he is able to see. The interesting part about this passage is that Jesus has just finished saying that he is the light of the world. He is physically showing those watching that he is in fact the light of the world by causing a blind man to see. The blindness symbolizes sin, which festers in darkness. The darkness of sin cannot prevail over Christ, the light of the world.
We read this passage during lent in order that we may acknowledge the blindness in our own lives. What in our lives do we keep hidden in the darkness? What do we keep secret and locked away so that no one else will see?
Jesus Christ calls us to repentance and conversion during this lenten season. He wants us to unveil our brokenness to him in the healing sacrament of confession. In this sacrament, he reaches out and touches us, purifying us so that we can see again. Just like the man who was blind, Jesus truly touches our heart and eyes and cleanses us of our burdens.
If you haven’t gone to confession in a while, I encourage you to go so that you eyes may be opened by the true light of the world, Jesus Christ.