The Man Born Blind
The Season of Lent really has two motifs running through it. It a time of preparation for
Holy Week, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. But it was (and still is) the time when the catechumens (those preparing for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist) received their final instructions. They did not stay for the Eucharist. Instead, after the scripture readings, they left the Church and were instructed in their meaning.
So the readings during Lent were chosen with great care. They always included three scriptures from John’s gospel – the Samaritan Woman, the Man Born Blind, and the Raising of Lazarus. At first sight, these scriptures do not sound especially appropriate for Lent, but they had deep meanings and were used repeatedly to point out what was happening in the lives of the catechumens and the people generally. They are always used in Year A (this year), and can be substituted for the Year B and Year C scriptures, especially when there are catechumens present.
So today, the Man Born Blind. The blind man “sees” more and more clearly as his interrogation goes on. After the healing but before the interrogation he had “no idea,” but after a long dispute, he says that Jesus is “a prophet.” After more challenge, he proclaims further that Jesus is “from God.” Finally, after the man’s acknowledgment of ignorance (or blindness) and Jesus’ personal teaching, he confesses, “I do believe, Lord.”
On the opposite side are the sighted, not only physically but also figuratively because they are knowledgeable concerning the teaching of Moses and the Church. At first, they see the miracle, but question the authority. Then they question whether the man was blind at all. They concluded finally that the man is a sinner and excommunicated him (and Jesus along with him). Their blindness is thus complete. This light / darkness theme is so much part of John’s gospel. The catechumens and ourselves, are left with a stark choice. Are we progressing into the light, or are we still in darkness?
Some points for reflection may be:
- Do I realise my blindness and ask for sight? Does the Lord heal me? Talk to Jesus in prayer about this.
- Do I, at other times, become so proud of my knowledge and self-sufficiency that I become blinded? How do I do that? How can I change? Talk to Jesus about this.
- What work or phrase particularly appealed to me. Why?