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Friday, April 1, 2011


There are a number of blind people who changed the world because they refused to allow their lack of external light perception to quench or stifle their inner light. They illumined the world while groping in the midst of their physical darkness.  Let us name a few: Homer, the Greek writer who gave us the Iliad and the  Trojan War; Hellen Keller, the American author, activist and lecturer, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Andrea Bocelli who gave the world their beautiful music; Louis Braille the inventor and designer of Braille writing which enables blind people to read; Erik Weihenmayer the blind man who climbed the  Mt. Everest.
In this fourth Sunday of Lent we have a blind man to guide us in professing that Jesus is the Light of the World.  Like many of the stories in the gospel of St. John, the story itself is a beautiful masterpiece.  Let us now enter into the story and take part in the journey of the blind man.  It was believed that he was born blind either because of his sins or the sins of his parents, but Jesus changed this belief and declared that the blindness would show the wonder of God. It is interesting to note that he spat on the ground and made a clay of spittle which he used in anointing the man’s eyes.  In the book of Sirach chapter 38, it was said that such a mixture was a medicine.  But in this story, we see Jesus re-creating the blind man in reference to the creation of man in the book of Genesis when God formed man out of clay and blew his divine breath.  The water of the pool of Siloam would wash that blindness away; because Siloam means “sent”, Jesus is the one sent by God to take away the blindness of humanity.  Then came the detailed interrogations carefully laid down by St. John in a stroke of a genius being a storyteller.  The neighbour could not agree if he was the blind man they knew and could not explain how he was able to see so the man admitted and explained to them what happened to him.  When asked where the healer was, the man said “I do not know”.  When he was brought to the Pharisees for interrogation, he related again his story but the Pharisees would not believe because the healer could not be from God because he did the healing on a Sabbath.  On the other hand a sinner could not do such a miracle either.  They were divided so they asked the man what he could say about him.  He said “he is a prophet’.  They would not believe the man so they called the parents.  Because of the fear of excommunication by the Jews, they were afraid to profess Jesus as the Christ so they said “He is of age, ask him”.  During the second interrogation, the blind man gave a lecture to the Pharisees who in turn cast him out.  This is the paradox of the story: the man born blind, uneducated and had no faith in juxtaposition with the Pharisees who could see, masters of the law and self-righteous.  The blind man now could see while the Pharisees were in darkness.
Knowing that the man has been cast out by the Jews, Jesus found him and the man professed his faith “Lord, I believe!” and he worshipped Jesus.  This story was written when the Christians were being cast out from the synagogues because they professed that Jesus was the Christ. It was to encourage the Christians that even the whole world cast them out, Jesus would be there to find them.  At the end of the story the Pharisees remained in their blindness.
Without light, even if we open our eyes, we will not perceive anything.  Without the Light of faith, even if we are not physically blind, we will never perceive spiritual realities.  If at this moment, we lose our sight and we become blind, what do we do?  What do we do when we see nothing but pitch black? 
The Pharisees were spiritually blind because of their arrogance to accept Jesus as the Light.  Bereft by the light of faith, they were blinded by their refusal to the accept to see the Beauty that can only be seen by the third eye.  The Pharisees have been long gone in history but their disciples are still roaming the world, aimlessly…

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