Gospel Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent Year A – March 30th 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
As Jesus said went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?’ ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered ‘he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
‘As long as the day lasts
I must carry out the work of the one who sent me;
the night will soon be here when no one can work.
As long as I am in the world
I am the light of the world.’
Having said this, he spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man. and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam (a name that means ‘sent’). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.
His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one’. Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him’. The man himself said, ‘I am the man’. So they said to him, ‘Then how do your eyes come to be open?’ ‘The man called Jesus’ he answered ‘made a paste, daubed my eyes with it and said to me, “Go and wash at Siloam”; so I went, and when I washed I could see.’ They asked, ‘Where is he?’ ‘I don’t know’ he answered.
They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man’s eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, ‘He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see’. Then some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the sabbath’. Others said, ‘How could a sinner produce signs like this?’ And there was disagreement among them.
So they spoke to the blind man again, ‘What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?’ ‘He is a prophet’ replied the man. However, the Jews would not believe that the man had been blind and had gained his sight, without first sending for his parents and asking them, ‘Is this man really your son who you say was born blind? If so, how is it that he is now able to see?’ His parents answered, ‘We know he is our son and we know he was born blind, but we don’t know how it is that he can see now, or who opened his eyes. He is old enough: let him speak for himself.’ His parents spoke like this out of fear of the Jews, who had already agreed to expel from the synagogue anyone who should acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. This was why his parents said, ‘He is old enough; ask him’.
So the Jews again sent for the man and said to him, ‘Give glory to God! For our part, we know that this man is a sinner.’ The man answered, ‘I don’t know if he is a sinner; I only know that I was blind and now I can see’. They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He replied, ‘I have told you once and you wouldn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it all again? Do you want to become his disciples too?’ At this they hurled abuse at him: ‘You can be his disciple,’ they said ‘we are disciples of Moses: we know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we don’t know where he comes from’. The man replied, ‘Now here is an astonishing thing! He has opened my eyes, and you don’t know where he comes from! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but God does listen to men who are devout and do his will. Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of a man who was born blind; if this man were not from God, he couldn’t do a thing.’ ‘Are you trying to teach us,’ they replied ‘and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!’ And they drove him away.
Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied ‘tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You are looking at him; he is speaking to you’. The man said, ‘Lord, I believe’, and worshipped him. Jesus said:
‘It is for judgement that I have come into this world,
so that those without sight may see and those with sight turn blind’.
Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him,
‘We are not blind, surely?’
‘Blind? If you were, you would not be guilty,
but since you say, “We see”, your guilt remains.
Some saw a blind man being cured and walked on amazed. Others saw the same cures and found faith. We can see things – everyday things – with different eyes. A sick woman may be seen with the eye of compassion for illness, hope for a cure, profit for a profession. The Christian tries to see the world with the eye of faith.
Growth of Faith
Faith grows in many ways – by opening ourselves to the human desire for God, by mulling over the good things of life, by experiencing the good within ourselves, by looking over times of faith in the past and by allowing the goodness of others bring us to new and stronger faith. This is the call of the gospel today – to open our eyes to the Lord who is at work in many ways.
We learn to look and love with the eye of faith by looking at the look of Jesus at us. Faith is often a big jump to believe in what we cannot see. Even the blind man today was reminded – ‘you are looking at the Son of Man, he is speaking to you’. Jesus looks at each of us with faith in our goodness and with love.
Maybe we can walk around in this atmosphere of faith, ‘seeing’ God in a flower, in a parent holding a child’s hand, in a man pushing a wheelchair with courage and notice that in many ways God is near and the presence of Jesus is at hand.
Amazing Grace – I once was lost and now am found, was blind and now I see.
Donal Neary SJ