Gospel – John 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” — which means Sent —.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.
His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, “
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered 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.”
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
A reflection by Mr. Paul Cillo
In today’s Gospel reading we encounter Jesus healing a blind beggar. The reading is filled with various themes but two really stood out to me this Lenten season. Lent is a time of self-reflection and preparation for the greatest day in our Catholic Calendar, Easter. Often, during this time we sacrifice in order to grow closer to the suffering Christ. While most people give something up such as a reoccurring sin or a simple pleasure I think Jesus also calls us to do something extra during Lent.
When asked about who sinned to bring on the beggar’s blindness Jesus replies “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work.” (Verses 3-4). In his response, Jesus uses the collective pronoun “we” when referring to doing the works of God. He is calling us and challenging us to bring about and actively work towards the Kingdom of God. How often do we pray for God to intervene while we ourselves sit on the sidelines? How can each of us complete God’s work today? What is God calling each of us to do? Let us remember that we are the hands and feet of Christ and may we not only sacrifice this lent but also work and serve.
The other theme from today’s reading is the transformation of the blind beggar. When the beggar encounters Christ he leaves a changed man. His neighbors cannot grasp what happened to this blind beggar. “His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is, “but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” (Verses 8-9). The beggar reminds us that every time we encounter Christ, whether in prayer, in the Eucharist, or in each other we leave changed people. Christ is transformative. He meets us where we are but does not leave us there. He pulls us to him and to God.
During Lent we contemplate the suffering and sacrifice of Christ leading up to his glorious resurrection. But we must not forget that his suffering is not the end. It is his resurrection, which is truly transforming. As we continue through Lent let us reflect on where Christ is taking us, how he is changing us, and who Christ is calling us to be.