A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 9:3-11
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; It is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me, while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, "Go wash in the Pool of Siloam"- which means sent-. So he went and washed and came back able to see. His neighbor and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?" Some said, "It is," but others said, "No, he just looks like him." He said, "I am." So they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?" He replied, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' So I went there and washed and was able to see." And they said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know." They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see." So some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath." But others said, "How can a sinful man do such signs?" And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, "What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet."
Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?" His parents answered and said, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for himself." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, "He is of age; question him." So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, "Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner." He replied, "If he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see." So they said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered them, "I told you already and you did not listen. Whey do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?" They ridiculed him and said, "You are that man's disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from." The man answered and said to them, "This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything." They answered and said to him, "You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?" Then they threw him out. When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He answered and said, "Who is he sir, that I may believe in him?" Jesus said to him, "You have sen him and the one speaking with you is he." He said, "I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgement, so that those who do not see, might see, and those who do see might become blind." Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not also blind, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, 'We see, so your sin remains." The Gospel of the Lord
This is a long Gospel passage and full. I would love to take one sentence at a time and look at all that is happening here, but it might long. So I will do two simple places of pondering here for our prayer.
First, quiet your heart, find a spot where you can just sit and take a deep breath and relax, let go of all the things, you have been carrying all day and for a few minutes be with Jesus and call upon the Lord's name, saying; JESUS, JESUS JESUS I love you, come into my heart, be with me, speak to my heart. Now 'give way' to his company, in other words, put your cell phone off and be present to this Gospel, commit to 15 minutes no interruptions.
1st Meditiation to ponder
"he spat on the ground" Jesus what are you doing? Why are you doing that? Enter this passage, be with the other disciples, you too are a disciple. Watch Jesus and what does he do? As I entered this Gospel, I was 'watching' Jesus and then he made that sound in his mouth right before you spit and then He spit right on the ground! Then he reached down and took his fingers and stirred up his salivia with the dirt and made mud and then picked up that mud and pasted it on the blind man's eyes..and I said to Jesus.... What are you doing my Lord? Why are you doing that? (feeling that social unacceptability of that action) Why don't you heal him instead Lord in a 'beautiful way?' You could heal him Jesus- Allow his gaze to look at you, to look into your eyes directly, There is such tenderness in his look, and patience. His 'gaze' says in effect... 'stay with me, trust me, learn from me, be at peace with my ways.' He takes that mud that he just made and puts it on the blind man's eyes. Do any of the disciples understand this gesture? Perhaps? or not? Do you? How often have you found yourself, not understanding what the Lord is doing in the present moment? Disbelieving that He is even at work in the present moments suffering or trial. How often do we 'mistrust' Goodness Incarnate? There is always a mixture of 'faith levels'in those we find ourselves with, in the present moment. There are the skeptics, the curious, the lovers of odd and unusual things, those drawn to 'powers', those with a little faith who stick around long enough to see it all, but don't profit (at least right away or for some time) then there are those, who refuse to learn and grow in their faith, because the manner of the works, are not according to their 'head knowledge' of how faith 'works' and so they are disgusted and disenchanted by it all and push away, in other words..."its too messy for them." There are also the bright and learned and faith filled, who grasp and want to understand more and more and search to grasp and understand the Lord's ways and then there are also, the little ones who put their 'chips in' and believe with simple faith. The Faith of the blind man would appear perhaps to be this. Simple, uncomplicated.
How often do we say this to Jesus; "What are you doing Jesus?" Why are you doing .this Jesus? Why don't you just'____'. 'What you are doing makes no sense!' How often we don't understand our Lord's actions in a particular situation because we are looking for a particular manner of it being solved or handled but the Lord's ways, are not as we would have them, and so we can mistrust the Goodness at work, in a given situation. We don't allow Jesus, to reveal His Goodness, as He chooses, we want 'our way.' We want God 'to be and act' as we see fit. Jesus heals the blind man, because the blind man allowed him to do so, he put up no resistance. He was docile. It takes humility to be docile. ("Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" which means Sent, so he went and washed, and came back able to see") His condition made him utterly dependent, humble, and docile. The only way, Jesus can heal us, is if, we too become 'utterly dependent, humble and docile, if we allow Him 'entrance'.' How many times, do we say to Jesus; I don't understand Lord what you doing" and what does he say? He does not seek to defend His Goodness at work, because it speaks for itself. Jesus just keeps working countless miracles in our lives, but do we see them? Do we have the light of Faith to recognize the 'author' of the works of Goodness? The blind man did;, "I do believe Lord, and he worshiped him." Which was the greater gift? To 'see again' or to see Jesus? to receive the gift of Faith? To Believe with unshakable Faith that Jesus alone can do everything in me, if I but have faith and trust Him. Trust in what? That he is Jesus, that he is Goodness, that He is Love, That LOVE never fails, and LOVE has a name; His name is Jesus!
Oh Jesus, Son of the Living God, have Mercy on me, a poor sinner, a poor sinner who loves you. Amen
2nd Meditation Point:
1.) "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him." Here is one reason why our Lord permits deformity and illness; that God and his works might be made visible to us. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a little child with downs syndrome? I have, in the shelter in San Francisco. How lovable that child is, drawing you like a magnet, the beauty is not of this world. Something far above what my senses perceive. Where do I need to open my eyes to see God at work, in what person, in what suffering? in what situation?
2.) "This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath." But others said, "how can a sinful man do such signs?" The letter of the law, vs the heart of the law. I grew up in a home where my Dad was a police officer. It was drilled into our heads, as young children, to never judge by the letter of the law, but to hold a broader view to employ Christian charity and see things from the perspective of the 'heart of the law.' Where in my life, do I hold to things so meticulously, that I actually miss the Lord's visitation, because I am so caught up in the rudiments, that I miss His Love, His Presence?
3.) "Ask him, he is of age, he can speak for himself." This sentence has a lot of humanity in it. I always feel his parents 'threw him under the bus" so to speak. Fear gets in the way, of allowing God's miraculous ways, to move us and shake us and convert us and set us on fire with gratitude for the Lord's wondrous ways! These parents could have been exploding with joy, that their son, who was blind from his birth, could now see, he was given the gift of sight! But, fear of being expelled from the temple was 'crippling them' and they couldn't rejoice, they couldn't respond with the freedom, nor could they thank and praise God! Where in my life, is this happening? That the Lord Jesus is healing me or someone in my life, but to acknowledge it means it may affect me personally and I don't want the repercussions of that?
4.) "This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes." I love those words of the blind man, there is subtle humor and great courage. In his simplicity he understands, he 'pierces the veil possibly' he sees God at work, he sees the origin-the worker behind the works. The action reveals the author. It reminds me of a beautiful sentence from Wisdom; "For by the greatness of the Beauty and of the creature, the creator of them may be seen, so as to be known thereby" St. John Paul II said, that each human life, is but a drama- where in your life's drama, of pain, joy and suffering, is God at work, you see His presence by seeing His works in your life?
Keep reading the rest of the Gospel, ..stop where Jesus stops you and Listen with your heart