Fourth Sunday of Lent "A"
H O M I L Y
When something wrong happens to us, -- like an accident or an illness --our first reaction, in most of the cases, is "Why? Why is that happening to me? What have I done to deserve this?" This is the question the disciples ask, in the presence of the blind man. Or, more exactly, they want to know if that evil came to that man because of his own sins or because of his parents' sins. Jesus refuses to be trapped into that form of reasoning. For him evil -- physical of moral -- is not a thing to be explained; it is a thing to be destroyed. It is a reality man must be freed from.
This Gospel is important for all of us, because we have all been born blind. But the Lord tells us: "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5). Of ourselves we cannot see. He alone is the Light, and he alone can give light because he alone has been sent by the Father to do so. Is there anything we can do? Yes, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (v.7). Then our eyes will be opened, and we who were born blind will see. This is the Lord's doing.
Siloam means "Sent", or "The one who has been sent". We all know who is the One who has been sent by the Father. Unless he had been sent, none of us could have been freed of sin. And unless we go to the one who has been sent, we remain in our sins and in our blindness, because we remain away from the light.
Throughout his earthly sojourn Jesus made it clear by word and act that he was the light of the world and the source of life. The Kingdom he was destined to inaugurate was already present in his person. Wherever he went darkness and death were forced to recoil. He cured the blind (as we see in this morning Gospel) and raised Lazarus to life (as we will see in next Sunday's Gospel). All creation was touched by this incarnation of Light and Life.
To those who had faith in him, who agreed to follow him, he offered a share in the blessings he possessed. "He who lives and believes in me will never die" (Jn 11:25). "He who follows me does not walk in darkness; he will have the light of life" (Jn 8:12).
In his Epistle to the Ephesians Paul draw the moral consequences of this. He tells the faithful that they were once darkness but are now light in the Lord, and that consequently they must live as children of the light (Eph.5:8-14).
The Christian has become light; that is, he has been wakened from the dead and enlightened by Christ. The statement is not vaguely poetic; it is real and a source of joy, but it also brings serious obligations. It is no easy matter to be, with Christ, a light for the world. Yet such is the responsibility of the entire Church.
A great simplicity of heart is required to receive the light from Christ and being able to share it with others. How clear and simple is the answer the man born blind gives to the Pharisees when they asked about his cure: "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash'; so I went and washed and received my sight". (John 9:11). The fact of his healing is so obvious that he does not care for explanations. The Pharisees, on the contrary, care so much for the explanations, that they miss the obvious fact.
Thus is God's judgment made manifest (v. 39). Those who think they see actually do not, but remain in darkness. The blind on the other hand come to the light, which, for John, is life in communion with the risen Jesus, the light of the world.