My dear friends in our Lord: Christ is risen!
In today’s Gospel, we see our Lord coming to heal the man blind from birth. He does so in confirmation of His own power and of His own benevolence, and in confirmation of the truth which – in the narrative of the Gospel – He had just given before the scribes and the Pharisees, revealing His Divine nature in saying, “Before Abraham was, I am.”
So our Lord comes upon the blind man, and His disciples were inquisitive concerning him, not knowing that the blind man would soon receive his sight, asking who it was that had sinned, the man or the man’s parents, that he should have been born blind.
Remember that earlier they had heard Christ say to the paralytic, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more. Now, upon seeing the blind man and learning that he was blind from birth, they wondered, and sought to understand the reason. To end their bewilderment, the Lord answered and said:
Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, that he was thus born blind, but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
These words of the Gospel do not express a cause, but a consequence. For the causes of things are not always evident nor are they always revealed to the mind of man. Our Lord teaches that here that speculative knowledge of the causes of things is not to be sought in itself, nor does speculative knowledge of the cause of things lead to sanctification. Let those who understand understand. Rather, what is to be sought in any situation is that the works of God may be made manifest, and that God be glorified. When the blind man was healed, God was glorified, and His works were made manifest, by none less than the Son of God Himself, as He says:
I must work the works of Him that sent me…
It is no small glory for the Only-begotten Son and Word of God to do the work of Him Who sent Him, the consubstantial and invisible Father.
Futher, our Lord says He must work “whilst it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”
And here He speaks of the work that is done within each of us, and the work that each of us must do, during this life. But night is coming, when work ceases; that is to say, the end of life is coming for each one. That day approaches, in which all work will cease, and we will be called to render ourselves before the Just judge, who shall pass sentence upon us, saying either, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, or, Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.
Our Lord rightly declares: As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
He is the Light, because He noetically – that is spiritually – enlightens the hearts of the faithful and gives light to men’s eyes.
When he had said these things, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay on his eyes, and said to him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloe, which is interpreted, Sent. He went therefore, and washed, and he came seeing.
Having taken dust from the earth, our blessed Lord and reminds us that it is He Who in the beginning made man out of earth. He did not mix the dust with water, but with spittle, so that it would be known that all the grace proceeded from His most pure lips; and He sent the blind man to the pool of Siloam.
And they that beheld the blind man recalled his former appearance; now that they saw his eyes opened, they did not believe that it was the same man. The most glorious wonder, this great miracle. only moved them to disbelief. In the face of such doubting neighbours, though, he who once was blind did not conceal the good gift which he had received, but unhesitatingly declared, I am he, and he openly proclaimed his healing.
Now, those who were hostile to our Lord envied the blind man for the gift and the miracle which he had received, and they sought to find our Lord and to take Him before the priests of the Temple. They could not find Him, however, since our Lord often was not to be found around those whom He had healed, for our Lord did not seek fame, He did not desire honours, but always and everywhere He showed Himself to be modest.
And so they bring him who had been blind before the Pharisees. And the Pharisees say among themselves, See what this Jesus is doing on the sabbath; He anoints with clay. The Pharisees give no thought to the fact that He had healed a blind man; but they were quick to judged and condemn Him because He had made mud. But others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And, as the Gospel tells us, there was a division among them.
The Pharisees still did not believe that Christ had granted healing to one who was blind. Since they did not believe the neighbours, they interrogated his parents. Although they wished to cover up the miracle, they only threw more light on it, for the parents openly told everyone all that they knew. The Pharisees did not say to the man’s parents, “Is this your son who once was blind?”, but, “Is this your son, of whom ye say that he was born blind?” In other words, Ye have made him out to be blind, and have spread such a story everywhere; how then does he now see? They slander the parents of the blind man as liars, and press them to denounce their own son, saying, Since your son can now see, it is clearly a lie that he was blind to begin with.
His parents answered them, and said: We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but how he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: ask himself: he is of age, let him speak for himself. They therefore called the man again that had been blind, and said to him: Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.
They do not openly and shamelessly tell the blind man to deny that Christ had healed him, but they do so obliquely, always putting forward an appearance of piety. Give God the glory, they say; in other words, admit that Christ did nothing for you. He that was formerly blind answered straightforwardly, saying, I know not whether He be a sinner; one thing I do know: I was blind, and now I see.
The Pharisees tried to cover up the truth by many and various means, but such is the very nature of truth that the things with which some men think to attack it only serve to make it stronger, and it shines more brightly.
When they questioned him, they sought that he would retract (his story). Now since he did not waver, but proclaimed the truth and upbraided them, they condemn him, reproach him with blindness, and drive him out (of the synagogue.) They hated one who would publicly reprove them, and found his truthful words abominable. They could not stand the rebuke of a poor beggar who showed courage concerning the truth; they were confounded in their falsehood. Such is the great power of truth.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out: and questions the blind man as One Who had heard and accepted what he had said before the Pharisees. They had already said to him, Give God the glory; therefore our Lord did not repeat these words, but rather asks, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? From this we learn that to believe on the Son of God is to give glory to God with equal honour; for he who honours the Son honours the Father also.
And we, too, brethren, believe on the Son of God – the Creator, Maker and Lord, and worship Him Who has delivered us from darkness, from error and from the curse, and Who has enlightened our souls and bodies, for He is the Light Which came into the world; therefore, let us do the works of light while it is day. Let us keep in mind the future judgement, for the night of death is coming, when no man can work. Therefore let us sow spiritual seed in the soul; let us sow compassion, meekness, compunction, love, long-suffering, goodness, gentleness, forgiveness, peace, joy, and holiness, without which no one will see God.
If the Lord finds us always doing good and being valiant for the truth, He will truly receive us, help us, and deliver us from the attacks and disturbances of visible and invisible enemies who hate us and fight against us. And He will bestow beautiful and incorruptible rewards for our labours; He will conduct us into the enjoyment of His kingdom. May this be granted to all of us, through the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and to the Holy Spirit be glory dominion and adoration, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.