The Man Born Blind

For Sunday, March 19th, 2023

Reading

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. 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.” 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.” 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, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.

John 9:1, 6–9, 13–17, 34–38

Reflection

Today the Church celebrates the second scrutiny. The scrutinies are exorcisms of the men and women who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. In today’s exorcism, the priest asks that the elect might be enlightened—like the man in today’s Gospel—and freed from the slavery of the father of lies.

Today’s Gospel story gives us great hope. Notice what Jesus did for the man born blind: “he found him.” This means Christ goes looking for us. The act of coming to the Lord begins with God searching for us. The whole story of Christ’s life is one of God seeking us out because we have alienated ourselves from his love and rejected the love of fellow humans.

God meant it when he said, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). From the very foundations of creation, the enemy of man has been isolation from love. Adam and Eve began the process of leaving the presence of God when they chose to sin in the Garden of Eden, and we have been predictable heirs to this behavior ever since. We also have a habit of throwing one another out of our lives. Loneliness is a deep suffering in this life. It is something like a foretaste of hell. We were made to see the truth and live in communion with God.

This communion with God is the way of faith, hope, and love. As the darkness of sin closes our eyes to the love of God, grace moves to find us. This movement of grace is a great mystery, as it may find us early in life as a response to our baptism or may even find us late in life on our deathbed. But there is no doubt that grace and God’s own life and love are moving within human experiences to open our eyes to his will for us.

The Church, and its ministries, try to make us more capable of relating to God. It does this through the sacraments, catechesis, acts of charity, and its mission. The Church continues Christ’s work in and throughout time. God wants to welcome us, give us sight, and restore our communion with him and one another. He gives us the strength to answer the question Jesus asks the man born blind: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

Today, pray for those preparing to enter the Church at Easter. Pray that God may gently lead the elect to Christ, the light of the world. Finally, tell the Lord in answer to His question with conviction, I do believe, Lord.

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