Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent by Fr Adrian Wilcock
Gospel Reading for the Fourth Sunday of Lent John 9:1-41 ©
The blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored
As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?’ ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered ‘he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
‘As long as the day lasts
I must carry out the work of the one who sent me;
the night will soon be here when no one can work.
As long as I am in the world
I am the light of the world.’
Having said this, he spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (a name that means ‘sent’). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.
His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one.’ Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ The man himself said, ‘I am the man.’ So they said to him, ‘Then how do your eyes come to be open?’ ‘The man called Jesus’ he answered ‘made a paste, daubed my eyes with it and said to me, “Go and wash at Siloam”; so I went, and when I washed I could see.’ They asked, ‘Where is he?’ ‘I don’t know’ he answered.
They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man’s eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, ‘He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.’ Then some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How could a sinner produce signs like this?’ And there was disagreement among them. So they spoke to the blind man again, ‘What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?’ ‘He is a prophet’ replied the man. However, the Jews would not believe that the man had been blind and had gained his sight, without first sending for his parents and asking them, ‘Is this man really your son who you say was born blind? If so, how is it that he is now able to see?’ His parents answered, ‘We know he is our son and we know he was born blind, but we do not know how it is that he can see now, or who opened his eyes. He is old enough: let him speak for himself.’ His parents spoke like this out of fear of the Jews, who had already agreed to expel from the synagogue anyone who should acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. This was why his parents said, ‘He is old enough; ask him.’
So the Jews again sent for the man and said to him, ‘Give glory to God! For our part, we know that this man is a sinner.’ The man answered, ‘I don’t know if he is a sinner; I only know that I was blind and now I can see.’ They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He replied, ‘I have told you once and you wouldn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it all again? Do you want to become his disciples too?’ At this they hurled abuse at him: ‘You can be his disciple,’ they said ‘we are disciples of Moses: we know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ The man replied, ‘Now here is an astonishing thing! He has opened my eyes, and you don’t know where he comes from! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but God does listen to men who are devout and do his will. Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of a man who was born blind; if this man were not from God, he couldn’t do a thing.’ ‘Are you trying to teach us,’ they replied ‘and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!’ And they drove him away.
Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied ‘tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You are looking at him; he is speaking to you.’ The man said, ‘Lord, I believe’, and worshipped him.
‘It is for judgement
that I have come into this world,
so that those without sight may see
and those with sight turn blind.’
Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him, ‘We are not blind, surely?’ Jesus replied:
‘Blind? If you were,
you would not be guilty,
but since you say, “We see,”
your guilt remains.’
‘Lord may your light shine ever more brighter in the darkness of the World’
As I write this reflection and as you are reading it our minds and hearts are full of anxiety, worry and maybe fear, as so much of our ordinary life is put on hold.
We are mindful today especially of those who have died as a result of COVID-19 or who are sick or self-isolating and anxious about the present situation.
The Word of God speaks to us always. Today Jesus affirms that he is the light of the world giving the sight to the blind man in todays Gospel is a sign of this.
The coming of the light brings enlightenment to those who will accept it and clarity of vision in the midst of confusion and darkness.
Jesus is the light of the world because he opens our minds to understand our true life and scatters the darkness which sometimes can overwhelm us. He scatters the darkness of ignorance. He does this by showing us God.
He himself went through the darkness of his passion and death and rose to the glory of eternal light. He has made us collaborates in his life and light giving work.
Each day and especially in these historic moments of history we are called ever more to be open to the ‘God who speaks to us’. In listening to his words of salvation and illuminated ever more by his words. To be a light ourselves especially to those who are most in need and vulnerable.
We are mindful today of all those who care for the sick and those who are in the health service and caring profession.
In these times it is important not to panic or loose heart but to reflect deeper on our relationship with God, to reflect on who is most important to us, and ask what we must do with our lives?
In these weeks of Lent let us pray more, make our spiritual communion for others, pray the Stations of the Cross in our homes and make this prayer,
‘Lord may your light shine ever more brighter in our world and in our own lives, in our words and actions let us never be blind to the love of God and never be blind to the needs of our neighbour’ .