Homily for the fourth Sunday of Lent - Year A - Jn. 9:1...41


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. He spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, saying to him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam' (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, 'Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?' Some said, 'It is he'; others said, 'No, but he is like him.' He said, 'I am the man.'


"They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. The Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, 'He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.' Some of the Pharisees said, 'This man is not from God, for he does not keep the sabbath.' But others said, 'How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?' There was a division among them. So they again said to the blind man, 'What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?' He said, 'He is a prophet.' They answered him, 'You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?' And they cast him out.


"Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, 'Do you believe in the Son of man?' He answered, 'And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?' Jesus said to him, 'You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.' He said, 'Lord, I believe'; and he worshiped him."





Homily:


"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. He spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, saying to him, 'Go, wash in the pool of Siloam' (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing."


Speaking of the vision of God in eternity, Saint Paul declares: "Then, we shall see him face to face!" (1 Cor. 13:12) It is true: in Heaven, for all eternity, those who will be saved in Christ will see God "face to face"! God and man looking into each others eyes! A divine glance of shining brightness, like that which Daniel and John contemplated in their vision: "I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen... His face was like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches..." (Dn. 10:5-6; cf. Rev. 1:13-14)


This means that our glance, the eyes of our body are of great value in the eyes of God... For, in eternity, all that the soul feels will be reflected in perfection upon the body: if the soul will see God in an inexpressible happiness, then the body too will enjoy a unequalled felicity that will make one's eyes shine with a thousand fires! But does eternity not begin now? Is it not yet time to discover the beauty of God and of his glance, full of Love and Mercy?


It is for this reason that Jesus wanted to heal so many blind people during his pilgrimage of evangelization. Is the healing of the blind not one of the signs, and indeed the first sign mentioned by Jesus, which would show us that the Kingdom of God is here? "John, calling to him two of his disciples, sent them to the Lord, saying, 'Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?' (...) And he answered them, 'Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight...'" (Lk. 7:18-19,22)


Moreover, is not the loss of our sight and of the normal use of our eyes what most disfigures our personality? Indeed, today it is a scientific fact that the iris of our eye is that which most differentiates us from all the other men and women of the entire world. So, in this sense, to give sight to a blind person is to give him all of his personality, it is to truly make him a new man!


"They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind."


The blind man is healed. Is he a man once again? Not exactly. Now, he is a man. For he had never been one, as is the case for many men and women, even those who see perfectly. Now, this man who had been blind and whom Jesus had healed is a man: now he has a personality, the one that Jesus gave him when he healed him! For God alone can make a man a true man!


This blind man who was healed now has something more, something that other men do not have: God has entered his life! Now, this man has become a witness to God, a witness to the coming of the Kingdom! And this causes disturbance... The Pharisees don't want to hear of all these things... No, it is not possible: Jesus is not an envoy of God... "Some of the Pharisees said, 'This man is not from God, for he does not keep the sabbath.' "


"Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, 'Do you believe in the Son of man?' He answered, 'And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?' Jesus said to him, 'You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.' He said, 'Lord, I believe'; and he worshiped him."


For Jesus, there is no occasion more beautiful than this for speaking of the faith. For faith is a virtue that presupposes that we see nothing at all in order that we might believe, but which, once we believe, gives us an unequalled vision of things. Before believing, one absolutely must see nothing. When we believe, we still see nothing. But immediately after we have believed, and even to a certain extent while we believe, we see! This is what is called the vision of faith. It is a perception of the supernatural intelligence that permits us to see by believing. Moreover, Jesus had declared: "He who believes in me has eternal life." (Jn. 6:47) In other words, he who believes in Jesus already sees God.


It is clearly not necessary to be born blind in order to be a good believer. Otherwise, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, the believer par excellence, would have had to have been born blind. No, this is not the case. But there is another blindness: that of the spirit, that which prevents us, at any given moment, from understanding a certain fact, a certain event in our life, a certain trial we must undergo... Now, the Most Blessed Virgin Mary underwent a similar trial, when the Child Jesus had left his parents for three days to stay in the Temple of Jerusalem. Then, Mary, and with her Joseph, had to believe without seeing... "They did not understand the saying which he spoke to them." (Lk. 2:50)


May Jesus come into us today, through Mary, in order to make us into new men, enlightened by the Light of the Holy Spirit, for the Glory of the Father!



To order the weekly homily immediately, click here