Tag Archives: blind man

4th Sunday of Lent, cycle A

The Gospel — John 9: 1-41

In John’s gospel ‘miracle stories’ are never simple and are never called miracles.  They are SIGNS that reveal Jesus.  What do you make of this sign or teaching?  What do you make of the mud/saliva paste?

e.e.cummings wrote a poem on spring; he called it ‘mud-luscious.’

Jesus spits – he mixes this part of himself with the clay of the earth.  (Spit, saliva, in Jesus’ day was thought to have healing properties; it actually does.)  He then smears (the Greek word used means anointing) the man’s eyes with this paste and tells him to go and wash. Ordinary, even crude, elements become ways for Jesus to work. This is the essence of our sacraments.

From Celebrations, March 10, 2002:

We are to be like this mud-paste; Jesus mixes into our ‘earthiness’ the healing substance of himself.  We are to be people molded by Christ’s truth, transformed by his words.  As this ‘mud-paste’ we are to be helping to ‘heal’ the world by being in it: we are ointment not pipelines. We help others to see Jesus more by how we are and how we live then by what we pass along.

The word Siloam means ‘Sent’ – so does the word apostle.  Sacraments are ‘signs’ – rituals – that send us forth; every Mass also ends with a sending forth . . . What does it mean to you to be sent?

The story is about the struggle to see –what does this mean?  Have you ever struggled to see?

At first, the blind man only knew Jesus as a man, then as a prophet; at the end he calls him, Lord – a beautiful growth in faith . . .What did knowing Jesus as Lord ‘cost’ the man?  What does it cost you?

From Reginald Fuller, “Scripture in Depth,” http://liturgy.slu.edu :

The original story in this gospel might have simply been about how a man was born blind and was healed by Jesus. This story was then later expanded due to the suffering and needs of the community for which John was writing. He was taking an experience of Jesus and applying it to the present situation. Isn’t that how the Spirit of the Risen Lord usually works? So John’s gospel has a trial and expulsion from the synagogue of Jewish converts to Christianity. This did not happen in Jesus’ day, but it did happen to those of John’s community. For this community to live through this very difficult time, Jesus must be seen and accepted as the true Light of the World that can help them overcome the darkness in which they were living. The washing in the pool of Siloam also suggests a further connection with baptism since the early Church often called baptism an ‘illumination” (photismos).

(Also, from Celebration, March 10, 2002)

From John Foley, S.J. “Spirituality of the Readings,” http://liturgy.slu.edu :

Why is this reading presented during Lent? Because it is pointing to the even greater healing that Easter offers us. We need to prepare for this. Jesus himself will suffer from the blindness of the world and will die because of the blindness of evil. Jesus will descend into the unseeing darkness of mortality, death, and by doing this he will show that love – God’s love –is stronger than death. By his death the world can be healed of its hatred, fear, insecurity; it can finally, once and for all, be assured of God’s love and power to bring good out of even the worst of evils. For, it is the crucified One who is the Risen One. We need to admit that we are like this blind man; we cannot see very well. Our eyes need to be opened. Due to Jesus, we can begin to glimpse and trust God’s answer to blindness, suffering, and sin.

Martin Luther King Jr. says, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Helen Keller was blind and deaf.  Her teacher Anne Sullivan signed the word ‘water’ as she pumped from the well.  It was in that moment that Helen had comprehension that words stood for things.  She says, “She (Sullivan) awakened in me a long forgotten memory…the realization of that word…the touch of the water called my soul to life…she brought me into the light again.”

Some thought from Henri Nouwen in Here and Now:

.  “…pain can be embraced, not out of a desire to suffer, but in the knowledge that something new will be born in the pain, “ (p. 47)

“What really counts is our willingness to let the immense sufferings of our brothers and sisters free us from all arrogance and from all judgments and condemnations and give us a heart as gentle and humble as the heart of Jesus, “ (p. 78).

Deacon Tom’s Homily: 4th Sunday of Lent, Cycle A

My friends,
There are many who believe that some people are poor because they are bad. And there are those who think that prosperity in this life is a sign of God’s pleasure. In today’s gospel, the disciples see a man who was born blind, and they ask Jesus, “Was it his or his parents’ sin that caused him to be born blind?” Now, who among us hasn’t asked a similar question at some time? We reason that since God is in charge of everything, anything bad that happens must be some sort of punishment for that bad deed. The belief that suffering is a punishment from God can cause all sorts of problems. Many believe that those who find favor with God lead pleasant lives, and those who are evil are doomed to lives of misery. No! That’s not how it works! Jesus’ message is very clear.

Jesus wants us to see as he sees, to see through his eyes.
We need to recognize that our suffering is not a punishment from God. We also need to stop spending so much time and energy looking to place blame. Too often, assigning blame for suffering is a way to avoid getting involved. Rather, we should open ourselves to Christ and put all of that energy we are wasting into finding a compassionate, life-giving response by simply looking at the world around us through the eyes of God, the eyes that Jesus sees through.

A friend of mine who received a big award accepted it by saying, “I don’t deserve this. But then he raised his head and said, I have very poor eyesight too, and I don’t deserve that either.” My friends, it is dangerous for us to think too much about what we deserve and what we do not deserve.

I remember speaking with a wonderful woman of great faith that I knew. She was the mother of two young children and was very sick and would soon die. I suggested that she might want to read the book called “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” She laughed, she looked at me and said, “You know, the question I ask a lot is, “Why don’t more bad things happen to bad people?’ I can deal with my sickness, but I really wonder why God doesn’t punish my husband who left me and our children when I got sick.” Yes, sometimes life seems so unfair, doesn’t it? I think we all wish that good people would have all the good luck and that people would be punished for every bad thing they do.

But, life is a lot more complicated than that. Suffering is a mysterious thing, and God’s ways are not our ways. As long as we live in this world, we will never understand why things happen as they do unless we can see through the eyes of Jesus.

Saint Paul, in today’s second reading, calls us to live in the light of the Lord, not in darkness. Like the man born blind in today’s gospel, we need to learn to see. We are called, though, to see in the way that God sees. God does not look for people to blame or punish. Rather, God looks on each one of us with love, with forgiveness, and with compassion.

The theme of our Lenten journey this Lent, already half over, is to open ourselves to Christ. By doing that, we would learn to see as God sees.
We would strive to want what God wants, and to act as God would have us act. When we pray, we should not try to change God, to persuade God to do things our way. Rather, we need to trust God enough that we can pray for God to change us. We need to trust God enough so that we can pray that God will help us all to stop looking for people to blame and start looking through the eyes of Jesus for ways to help ourselves and one another.

4th Sunday of Lent, cycle A

blind man

The Gospel — John 9: 1-41

In John’s gospel ‘miracle stories’ are never simple and are never called miracles.  They are SIGNS that reveal Jesus.  What do you make of this sign or teaching?  What do you make of the mud/saliva paste?

e.e.cummings wrote a poem on spring; he called it ‘mud-luscious.’

Jesus spits – he mixes this part of himself with the clay of the earth.  (Spit, saliva, in Jesus’ day was thought to have healing properties; it actually does.)  He then smears (the Greek word used means anointing) the man’s eyes with this paste and tells him to go and wash. Ordinary, even crude, elements become ways for Jesus to work. This is the essence of our sacraments.

From Celebrations, March 10, 2002:

We are to be like this mud-paste; Jesus mixes into our ‘earthiness’ the healing substance of himself.  We are to be people molded by Christ’s truth, transformed by his words.  As this ‘mud-paste’ we are to be helping to ‘heal’ the world by being in it: we are ointment not pipelines. We help others to see Jesus more by how we are and how we live then by what we pass along.

The word Siloam means ‘Sent’ – so does the word apostle.  Sacraments are ‘signs’ – rituals – that send us forth; every Mass also ends with a sending forth . . . What does it mean to you to be sent?

The story is about the struggle to see –what does this mean?  Have you ever struggled to see?

At first, the blind man only knew Jesus as a man, then as a prophet; at the end he calls him, Lord – a beautiful growth in faith . . .What did knowing Jesus as Lord ‘cost’ the man?  What does it cost you?

From Reginald Fuller, “Scripture in Depth,” http://liturgy.slu.edu :

The original story in this gospel might have simply been about how a man was born blind and was healed by Jesus. This story was then later expanded due to the suffering and needs of the community for which John was writing. He was taking an experience of Jesus and applying it to the present situation. Isn’t that how the Spirit of the Risen Lord usually works? So John’s gospel has a trial and expulsion from the synagogue of Jewish converts to Christianity. This did not happen in Jesus’ day, but it did happen to those of John’s community. For this community to live through this very difficult time, Jesus must be seen and accepted as the true Light of the World that can help them overcome the darkness in which they were living. The washing in the pool of Siloam also suggests a further connection with baptism since the early Church often called baptism an ‘illumination” (photismos).

(Also, from Celebration, March 10, 2002)

From John Foley, S.J. “Spirituality of the Readings,” http://liturgy.slu.edu :

Why is this reading presented during Lent? Because it is pointing to the even greater healing that Easter offers us. We need to prepare for this. Jesus himself will suffer from the blindness of the world and will die because of the blindness of evil. Jesus will descend into the unseeing darkness of mortality, death, and by doing this he will show that love – God’s love –is stronger than death. By his death the world can be healed of its hatred, fear, insecurity; it can finally, once and for all, be assured of God’s love and power to bring good out of even the worst of evils. For, it is the crucified One who is the Risen One. We need to admit that we are like this blind man; we cannot see very well. Our eyes need to be opened. Due to Jesus, we can begin to glimpse and trust God’s answer to blindness, suffering, and sin.

Martin Luther Kin Jr. says, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Helen Keller was blind and deaf.  Her teacher Anne Sullivan signed the word ‘water’ as she pumped from the well.  It was in that moment that Helen had comprehension that words stood for things.  She says, “She (Sullivan) awakened in me a long forgotten memory…the realization of that word…the touch of the water called my soul to life…she brought me into the light again.”

Some thought from Henri Nouwen in Here and Now:

.  “…pain can be embraced, not out of a desire to suffer, but in the knowledge that something new will be born in the pain, “ (p. 47)

“What really counts is our willingness to let the immense sufferings of our brothers and sisters free us from all arrogance and from all judgments and condemnations and give us a heart as gentle and humble as the heart of Jesus, “ (p. 78).