IV SUNDAY OF LENT
1 samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; ephesians 5:8-14; john 9:1-41
author john h. griffin was blinded in an explosion during world war ii. twelve years later, walking down a street near his parents’ home, he suddenly began to see what he described as «red sand». a specialist later told him that a blockage of blood to an optic nerve had abruptly cleared causing him to see. commenting on his experience, griffin said: «you can’t imagine what it is like for a father to see his children for the first time.»
the blind man of the gospel had an experience similar to griffin’s: after jesus anoints the man and he washes in the pool, a son saw his parents for the first time! he saw more than his parents; he saw jesus as his LORD.
while his physical sight was instantaneously restored, his spiritual sight grew in stages. for him, jesus is «the man called jesus», «a prophet», «a man of GOD»… and finally he makes a simple act of faith: «i do believe, LORD».
paradoxically, the pharisees/jews make an opposite journey; they become increasingly blind. they expel the man from the synagogue. even his parents disassociate themselves from him out of fear.
for the evangelist, this is not merely another miraculous cure. john is writing to a community that is experiencing rejection from jewish society. through this sign, he presents the blind man as a model of spiritual growth to encourage them to continue to «see» jesus as their LORD.
like the blind man, we have been anointed and washed in the waters of baptism.
have I grown in my faith response to jesus: do i «see» him as my LORD… or is he merely a man, a prophet, a man from GOD?
am i ready to risk rejection in my desire to see jesus?