Gospel of Sunday 19 March: John 9, 1-41
IV Sunday of Lent A, Gospel of Sunday: John 9, 1-41
John 9, 1-41, Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
9 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8 His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some claimed that he was.
Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”
But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”
10 “How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.
11 He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”
12 “Where is this man?” they asked him.
“I don’t know,” he said.
John 9, 1-41, The Pharisees Investigate the Healing
13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”
16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”
But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.
17 Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”
The man replied, “He is a prophet.”
18 They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. 19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”
27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”
28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”
30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
John 9, 1-41 Spiritual Blindness
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”
37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”
38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
39 Jesus said,[ “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”
41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).
Today I share with you a brief meditation on the Gospel, with particular reference to the theme of mercy.
After proclaiming himself the light of the world (Jn 8:12), Jesus gives a concrete sign of what he said, bringing a blind man, symbol of every man, from darkness into the light.
Baptism repeats this miracle for each of us.
There is here a harsh anti-Jewish polemic, and the typological representation, in the figure of the blind man, of every believer.
Jesus creates the new man (1-12)
On the closing feast of Sukkoth, the Feast of Booths, on the eighth day, the last chapter of Deuteronomy and the first chapters of Genesis were read, with the creation of man.
“The blind man represents man’s natural condition: he is in darkness even though he has not sinned” (E. Bianchi).
Jesus “anointed his eyes with mud” is a clear allusion to creation.
And he sent him to the pool of Shiloh (= fountain of water), transliterated by John into Siloe (= Sent) to give a precise Christological baptismal reference.
The blind man becomes a new man, unrecognisable (vv. 8-9), another Christ, so much so that he applies to himself the very name of God: “I AM” (v. 9).
A baptismal debate (13-34)
The blind man professes before the Pharisees that Jesus is his Saviour. In the first communities, adult catechumens, presented by their parents-parents, are questioned about their faith and make a public profession of it.
But the blind man is “cast out” (v. 34). Adherence to Christ entails excommunication by the synagogue and the world.
Being a disciple of Jesus means facing marginalisation and exclusion.
The encounter with Jesus (35-41)
But it is Jesus who comes to seek us out at the moment of suffering and persecution.
To the baptismal question: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”, there is nothing left to do but to respond with enthusiasm, like the healed blind man: “I believe, Lord!”, and to prostrate oneself, a liturgical gesture of adoration (v. 38).
Pope Francis said: “Today’s Gospel presents us with the episode of the man blind from birth, to whom Jesus gives sight.
The long story opens with a blind man who begins to see and closes – this is curious – with supposedly sighted people who continue to remain blind in soul…
Today, we are invited to open ourselves to the light of Christ in order to bear fruit in our lives, to eliminate behaviour that is not Christian… We must repent of this, eliminate these behaviours in order to walk decisively on the path of holiness.
It has its origin in Baptism. Indeed, we too have been ‘enlightened’ by Christ in Baptism, so that, as St Paul reminds us, we can behave as ‘children of light’ (Eph 5:8), with humility, patience, mercy.
These doctors of the law had neither humility, nor patience, nor mercy…! Let us ask ourselves: what is our heart like? Do I have an open heart or a closed heart? Open or closed towards God? Open or closed towards our neighbour? We always have within us some closure born of sin, mistakes, errors.
Let us not be afraid! Let us open ourselves to the light of the Lord, He is always waiting for us to see us better, to give us more light, to forgive us. Let us not forget this!”.
Good Mercy to all!
Those who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some in-depth analysis, please ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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