Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.”(Jn. 9:39-41)
The Gospel this Sunday is about the cure of the “man born blind.” Jesus did so by making clay out of dirt and saliva, by putting the clay on the man’s eyes, and then by instructing the man to wash in the Pool at Siloam. The closing words of this Sunday’s Gospel passage sum up the meaning of the cure of the man born blind. It’s not just a miracle cure of a physical illness. It’s about opening the eyes of faith.
Practically speaking, how is our vision supposed to change this Lent? What does it mean to be cured of our spiritual blindness?
How did it unfold for the blind man? Picture him at the pool. The first thing he probably saw was his own image reflected in the water of the pool. Imagine seeing your face for the first time! Now picture him returning from the pool. He had never seen anything before, and now he could see everything! He probably looked up to the sky and saw birds and trees and flowers. And as he walked back he could finally see the faces of his neighbors, and where he was going! But that’s not the only thing. When he returned, he could see the face of Jesus.
Spiritually speaking, we are called to open up our eyes. We are called to see the world in all of its beauty, and realize it’s God’s creation. We’re called to see the faces of our neighbors – even those who you don’t always greet – and recognize that they are children of God. We are called to see our way through the world in the light of the Gospel rather than in the light of “popular” morality. In the end, opening our eyes to God’s work in the world should help us to see ourselves better. We have to open our eyes to the reality that we are God’s beloved sons and daughters. The sense of love that comes from this recognition can fill us with a tremendous joy — the type of joy that God wants to share this Laetare Sunday.
And finally, we have to see the face of Jesus, just as the man born blind finally did. If we could truly see the Mass with the eyes of faith, we would see the face of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. We would see the glory of God as Heaven meets earth in our church. We would see all the angels and the saints hovering around the Altar.
With the eyes of faith open to reality of God’s presence, we can say, just as the man did: “I do believe, Lord!”
Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty