Healing of the man born blind - Page 7
The healed man
It is noteworthy that the man is undeterred by the fact that healing does not immediately follow the application of the mud. He goes to the Pool of Siloam without questioning. St Josemaria Escrivá writes, “What an example of firm faith the blind man gives us! A living, operative faith. Do you behave like this when God commands, when so often you can't see, when your soul is worried and the light is gone?” (21)
And when the man is healed, Jesus gives him not only physical sight, but also spiritual insight. We can follow him as he grows in faith. (22)
1. When he is asked how his eyes were opened, he says it was the “man called Jesus” (NRSV, John 9:11).
2. When asked what he has to say about Jesus, he replies, “He is a prophet” (NRSV, John: 9:17).
3. When asked again how his eyes were opened, he says, “Do you also want to become his disciples”. (NRSV, John 9:27). The ‘also’ suggests that by now the man would like to be a disciple of Jesus.
4. When his inquisitors say they don’t know where Jesus comes from, the man asserts, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing” (NRSV, John 9:33).
5. When Jesus reveals his identity to the man, he says “Lord, I believe” and he worships Jesus (NRSV, John 9:35-38).
It is impossible to read this passage without admiring the man’s courage and resilience in the face of hostility and opposition. When the Pharisees say, “Give glory to God!” (NRSV, John 9:24) they are using a solemn declaration exhorting him to tell the truth. In fact they don’t want the truth, they want to intimidate the man into denying his healing. (23) But he is steadfast in his loyalty to Jesus, and he is not afraid to proclaim his experience of Jesus in simple, factual terms, “…though I was blind, now I see” (NRSV, John 9:25). So this ragged Jerusalem beggar is an example to us of faithful witness to Christ in the face of opposition. Indeed, apart from St John Baptist, he was the first person who was disgraced for the sake of Jesus. (24)
He also shows us that faith in Christ is deepened by loyalty to him. His was a Jesus-centred faith and he reminds us that contact with Jesus in our prayers and in the sacraments, especially in our Communions, helps us to grow as faithful, believing Christians. (25)