Jesus healed a man born blind in today’s gospel reading and it is very lengthy and was recorded in great detail. Is it any wonder? What human being has ever given sight to a person that was born blind, simply by smearing a little clay on their eyes? This was definitely a major miracle, the likes of which mankind had never seen before. Jesus’ disciples probably talked about this miracle and recounted all of the details of this event for many years after his death, before Saint John recorded it for the rest of mankind to read.
Miracles are not given solely for the benefit of the person who received it. Yes, Jesus in his infinite compassion for those who suffer, wanted to heal this man who was born blind and end the life long suffering his disability had caused him. However, the gospel today recounts how this miracle affected not only the man who was cured, but also the community in which he lived. This miraculous event got the attention of the entire town. It took a while for the townspeople to absorb what had actually happened and the Pharisees never did. They threw the blind man out of the synagogue rather than listen to the truth of what had actually happened to him, and who it was that healed his blindness.
Did you happen to notice the absolutely beautiful words that Christ said just before he healed the blind man? He said, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Immediately after saying this, Jesus spat on the ground and smeared clay on the man’s eyes. What holy clay that was. The first light the blind man saw was through this intimate encounter with the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Another beautiful thing that Jesus did in today’s gospel, was to go seek out the blind man after the Pharisees threw him out of the synagogue. He didn’t have to do that. Jesus already cured him. He could have left the man alone to live out the rest of his life, but he didn’t choose to do so. Jesus purposely sought him out and when he found him, Jesus asked the man:
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered him and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe Lord,” and worshiped him.
This is beautiful on so many levels. Jesus cared that the blind man couldn’t see and healed his affliction so he wouldn’t suffer anymore. Jesus also cared that he got kicked out of the synagogue by the Pharisees. The blind man may have been permanently expelled from the synagogue (because the gospel said his parents were already afraid this would happen to them too). So, Jesus was also concerned about this man’s spiritual well being too, if he was expelled from the synagogue. Jesus came to him, to heal the after effects of the miracle he had performed for him.
The gospel says that the former blind man acknowledged Jesus Christ as the Son of Man, but then it says he “worshiped him”. Maybe this man could no longer worship in the synagogue, but Jesus allowed this man to worship him. He healed even this situation that occurred as a result from the miracle that he performed for the blind man, and provided a solid grounding for worshiping him as the Christ, the son of God.
The blind man was physically blind, but was healed and saw the light, so to speak. But, then the former blind man was healed spiritually when he came to understand that Jesus was the son of God.
The gospel reading today is so beautiful. Jesus loves us in this way too. Jesus cares when we are suffering. Many people ask why does God allow suffering? But it isn’t His will that we suffer, any more than it was Jesus’ will that people suffer. Jesus spent his entire ministry easing the suffering of all the sick people that he encountered during in his public ministry.
We should never doubt that the Lord is with us during our own periods of suffering. Jesus cares about every form of suffering that we go through during our lives. Physical illness, grief, emotional suffering, social isolation, and our spiritual dilemmas as well. There is never a time in our lives that we suffer alone. Jesus didn’t leave the blind man alone after his initial healing and he won’t leave us alone either. He walks by our side always, no matter what happens to us during our life. We are safe in his loving care. Even if everyone else rejects us or abandons us, Jesus never will. Jesus loves us every single minute of our lives and will continue to do so, forever.
Sunday Mass Readings:
1 Samuel 16:1b,6-7,10-13a / Psalm 23:1-6 / Ephesians 5:8-14 / John 9:1-41