Dear Parishioners of Divine Savior and our Cherished Visitors:
In reflecting on today’s Gospel, a very important thread to notice is how the man born blind becomes increasingly more aware of who Jesus is. When asked by his neighbors how his eyes were opened, he said it was done by “the man called Jesus.” This level of understanding Jesus is shared by many people. They have heard of Jesus and may even know something about Him, but this doesn’t have much if any real impact on how they live their lives. But this is an important stage, and for anyone who comes to our parish and is essentially at this point, we are more than happy to do what we can to help anyone develop a more personal relationship with Jesus.
When asked by the Pharisees what he had to say about Jesus, his reply was, “He is a prophet.” Saying this indicates a huge development in the man’s faith. A prophet is one who reveals to people how God wants people to live. All the actions of Jesus brought about healing of one kind or another; what all healings have in common is that through them the people healed know themselves more clearly as God’s beloved people. This was highly important because the disciples ask at the beginning of this passage what many at the time of Jesus thought, namely, that circumstances such as blindness were caused by someone’s sin. Jesus refuted this completely and had people focus on the goodness of God. Pope Francis does as well; he invites us to focus first and foremost on the abundant love, mercy and joy of God and in that context to experience healing and forgiveness.
Thirdly, the man, in his sharp-minded dialogue with the Pharisees states that Jesus had to be from God or He would not have been able to heal Him. This point is very important to us, because when we reflect on our lives, we consistently are faced with the awe of how we were able to do the good we have done or to say the positive and helpful things that we say; ah, it must be because we are from God and that God works through us just as God worked through Jesus. The more we reflect, the more we become aware of what we are capable of doing with God’s help. This leads us to be grateful, which helps us to see even more times or with deeper insight how God’s grace and love are active in our lives. The goodness simply keeps increasing and we feel our relationship with God and Jesus growing more intimate, which in turn helps us develop a greater awareness of how God is present and active in our lives.
Lastly, when Jesus and the man meet up again, Jesus asks the man if he believes in the Son of Man. When Jesus says that He is the One, the man readily makes His profession of faith in Jesus and worships Him. In John’s Gospel, to believe includes a decision to be loyal to the one in whom we believe. What this includes is that all of us who believe express our loyalty by imitating Jesus by being instruments of healing, joy, peace and love. We realize that we are people of light and not of darkness. As members of the Body of Christ, we do our best to be the light of Jesus for the world. How much can our faith community be a light for our world?