In the midst of the Corona Crisis the Gospel gives us this story about healing. Not only about physical healing but also about spiritual healing. The Gospel invites us to on the physical and spiritual aspects of sight and light. We hear about Jesus’ response to a prevalent belief of his time: that misfortune and disability were the result of sin. That belief is why his disciples ask Jesus who has sinned-he himself of his parents. Jesus does not gives a straight answer but gives it a new dimension. Through this man’s disability, God’s power will be made manifest. Jesus then heals the man.
The healing is controversial because Jesus heals on the Sabbath. The religious authorities of Jesus’ time, argue that it is against the law of Moses. They also don’t believe that Jesus performed a miracle. They are the sceptics of their time. We still have these sceptics that don’t believe God can heal, only the medical professionals can. To determine whether the man was really born blind, the Pharisees question him and his parents. The man then challenges their believes and their assessment of the good that Jesus has done. But they don’t except it and kick him out for questioning their judgment.
We may wonder why Jesus used ritual signs (spittle, mud and water,) in order to heal the man who had been blind from birth. Other people were healed by his touch, or simply by his word. I imagine this is how Jesus heals many of us. We ask for a blessing, and nothing seems to happen immediately. Maybe, after asking to be blessed we should simply let the healing come gradually, in the Lord’s own time.
As the story unfolds, the man’s eyes were fully opened, including the eyes of his mind. Jesus was intent on healing the whole person, body and soul. When the man in today’s gospel knew how fully he was healed, he fell on his knees, full of worship and joy. We can only hope that Jesus heals us in such a way as well. Besides the physical blindness there is a second dimension to blindness. The individual cares only about his or her own survival, shuts the door and lets the others die outside. Or one generation, feeling itself immune, despises the old and weak, even rejoicing to get rid of them maybe. The blind egoism shown up in the crisis was present all along, as an inborn darkening of the intellect. The pharisees claim that God does not listen to sinners. That is contrary on the vision of Jesus himself. Rather he answers: , “neither he nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God would appear in him”. He remains, even in darkest physical and moral circumstance, a fount of compassion, an agent of healing, and “the light of the world”. And we are called to do the same.
The moment of enlightenment for the man comes when he encounters Jesus again. Having heard how the pharisees treated the man, Jesus reveals born blind shows himself as a man of faith and brings worship to Jesus. Jesus then identifies the problem in the world: himself to him as the Son of Man. He then replies by identifying the problem in the world, that of spiritual blindness: Those who are blind will now see, and those who think they now see will be found to be blind”.
Today's readings refers to our Baptism in Christ. The washing of the man in the pool of Siloam is a prototype for Christian Baptism. Through the man’s encounter with Jesus, the man born blind is healed, his sight is restored, and his conversion to discipleship begins. The man born blind gradually comes to a greater understanding about who Jesus is how to be his disciple. He gradually understand what it takes to be Jesus’s disciple, while the Pharisees (those who should see) are the ones who remain blind.
Jesus is in our midst, even in times of crisis, as the supreme healer. He is always there to touch us, to take away our spiritual blindness and free us from our impaired vision. His church too has a healing mission. We are all sent to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” as He is. Let’s not think about our own survival but how we can be “salt and light”? How we can be a part of the Church’s mission of healing the wounded, consoling the dying, witnessing to human dignity and divine goodness?” May the Holy Spirit help us to be a real follower of Jesus Christ. Amen.