Sunday, March 22, 2009

1. There is a saying there is no one so blind as the one who will not see. Such is the case of those who opposed both the man born blind and Jesus. They simply would not see that Jesus was from God. All they could see was that Jesus healed on the Sabbath, which in their opinion was a violation. They could not consider that someone regained their sight on the day when we are supposed to put all our trust in God to care for us. Furthermore, although they did not even know the blind man (recall that they had to call the parents to ask them is this your son, who you say was born blind? (John 9:19), they presumed that he was full of sin since his birth, all because he had been born blind. As the events unfolded, they became more blind to the truth.
2. Saint Augustine reminded us that sins blinds the sinner. All sin, large or small, dulls the senses. If we go keep sinning, eventually we become blind to our faults and cannot see things the way they really are. That is why those who go to frequent confession are able to confess more accurately what they are doing than those whose confession is infrequent. Unfortunately, sin in one area of life, be it pride, willfulness, lies, unkind speech, theft, unforgiveness, or the multitude of means of impurity, these sins affect the whole of one’s life. Unrepented, unconfessed, unchecked, unforgiven sin in any area of life will not only weaken weaken the whole person, but it can lead to the loss of faith in Jesus Himself.
3. Be warned! Do not think that this loss of holiness or faith could not happen to you. The pharisees who opposed Jesus studied the Bible every day, yet they did not recognize Him or turn to Him for help. One of the sorrows that grieved Jesus the most in the Gospel was the refusal of people to realize that they needed God’s forgiveness. All of us do. Even consider those pharisees who were following Jesus. Some of them were more concerned about being insulted than in receiving what Jesus was offering - the true light to see things as they really are. And so Jesus had to say to them - “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains (John 9:41). If we do not see the need for God’s mercy and forgiveness given to us through Jesus, then we are in darkness.
4. On the other hand, there is an opposite movement on the part of the man born blind. Jesus smeared mud on his eyes and instructed him to wash in the pool of Siloam (which is a prefigurement of Baptism). There, he regained his sight, or in other words, he was illuminated- the light was able to enter into him and he could see. But the man received more than the gift of sight, he received faith. With his eyes, he was able to see Jesus was a man. But with the gift of faith, the man was able to see much more. He could see Jesus as Lord and God- which is how things really are. At first, he gives the witness - the man called Jesus made clay (John 9:11). Later he was asked, what do you have to say about Him, since He opened your eyes? (John 9:17), the man was able to say he is a prophet (John 9:17). The third time, the man argues with the pharisees and insists that Jesus comes from God and does God's will- Jesus is Holy (John 9:30-33). Finally, he says to Jesus I do believe Lord (John 9:38) and worships Jesus.
5. Of course, the question that this event raises is: who do I say Jesus is? Can I see Him for what and who He really is, or is something blocking my vision of the truth?
6. Everyone acknowledges that Jesus was man. Some people even believe that Jesus was a great man. Many people also recognize that Jesus was a prophet- that is, sent by God. But that kind of faith is not enough to be considered a Christian. The truth is that Jesus is Lord and God. The primary act of belief for a Christian is not to believe in a list of things (as important as those things are), but to believe in a person- Jesus- and adore Him as our only Lord.
7. That being said, Saint Paul says You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord (Ephesians 5:8). We did not simply receive Light. We are light. Jesus said that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). And one does not light a lamp and put it under a basket (Matthew 5:15). We are called by God and given the light of faith to illumine the world. And so we cannot permit sin to have a place in our lives any more. We must live as if faith in Jesus makes us different from the world of darkness. And when we fall, we must turn back to Jesus in the Sacrament of Penance to remove the darkness and restore us to the Splendor of Light.

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