Gospel Reflection Mar 19 – Fr. Lynch
Sunday, March 19
Fourth Sunday of Lent
John 9: 1 – 41
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.
Night is coming when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground
and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes,
and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.
His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”
He said, “I don’t know.”
They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”
Now the Jews did not believe
that he had been blind and gained his sight
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said,
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews,
for the Jews had already agreed
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”
So a second time they called the man who had been blind
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered them,
“I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?
Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
They ridiculed him and said,
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses,
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing,
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him,
the one speaking with you is he.”
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind.”
Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.
How is your Lent going? I hope it is well and the priests, deacons, sister and staff are praying for you this Lenten season. Please pray for us.
The Gospel today is a powerful reminder of who we were, who we become when we encounter and accept Jesus in our life, and where we are going. Sometimes we don’t even need to ask.
The blind beggar is a marginalized, outcast member of society. There is not much sympathy or empathy for him as the Jews believed that any defect, handicap or disease was a personal punishment from their understanding of Yahweh. Often, they believed that a sin’s punishments were passed down from generation to generation, as well as punishment for that individual breaking the laws of Moses aka sinning.
Jesus flips the script on his followers who still see Him as a rabbi/teacher, by giving an answer to their question that they cannot comprehend. Jesus is showing them the new and right way to see the outcast, the sick and suffering. He is teaching them all COMPASSION which comes from the Heavenly Father.
From the moment Jesus takes his saliva and mixes it with the dirt/clay, ANOINTS (to be set apart) and puts it on the beggars’ eyes something miraculous happens in order as scripture says, “so that the works of God may be made visible through Him.” Jesus then SENDS the man to go and wash off. The man is OBEDIENT to Jesus, and when he does what is suggested by the Lord he comes back and can see.
The neighbors question him, the man tells the truth, then they go and tell the Pharisees who immediately discredit the GOOD the Lord has done, and continue to strengthen their criticisms of him because of the threat that He is to their POWER. Criticisms that help to continue to fuel the fire that will culminate in Him being tortured then put to death.
The pharisees interrogate the man who has been healed of his blindness and the man says he believes Jesus is not just a rabbi, but a prophet. The man has been forever changed, not just physically, but spiritually. He is SENT by Jesus and goes, and He comes back changed forever and has become a believer. This is profound for us to reflect on as Jesus is continuing his ascent to Jerusalem and then Calvary for all of us where He will prove himself as priest, Prophet and King, the fulfillment of the Old Testament, the Messiah, and the son of God.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, do you believe? Are you a true believer? Jesus ANOINTS you, so that you may ANOINT others, Jesus shows you COMPASSION that you may show COMPASSION, if not to the poor and marginalized at the very least to your families. (Although I do know at times it is easier for us to show it to the stranger). And Jesus SENDS you forth to continue His mission here in this Life to bring His light to those in darkness.
Lent allows us the special time to rid ourselves of the unnecessary necessaries, so that we can see the Light of Christ more clearly, turn back around in the right direction and follow. The quickest way to do it is to follow the example of the poor blind beggar and do what he did, he didn’t question Jesus, rather he just did what was suggested and was OBEDIENT. What is Jesus asking you to do? St. Brigid of Kildare…Pray for us and on this Feast Day of St. Joseph…Pray for us!
-Fr Tim Lynch