Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Congregation for the Clergy

3/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Congregation for the Clergy (vatican.va)

While the theme of blindness and sight, darkness and light, witness and threat feature prominently in John's account of the healing of man born blind and illustrate the great sweep of Lenten motifs in terms of conversion, baptism and grace, another aspect of the account of the miracle suggests itself to our consideration. If we look at the Gospel account, we can see that the blind man and Jesus have in common that the other protagonists of the incident fail to recognise them. Blindness envelops the entire scene, with the exception of Christ who bestows light, and the blind man who receives it. It is evocative of the first moment of creation, when the Spirit hovered over the darkness and drew forth from nothingness all that exists. Jesus is sent to do the 'works' that the Father has sent him to do, while it is still day (cf. Jn. 9: 4).

Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel

Highlights

By Congregation for the Clergy

Congregation for the Clergy (vatican.va)

3/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Vatican, Congregation for the Clergy, Lent, Easter


VATICAN - The blind man is repeatedly asked to prove his identity. He is no longer recognised by those who acknowledged him only as a blind beggar. They knew him only for his function, the inconvenience he represented, the occasional object of their good works. It is extraordinary that in the account of the blind man's travails, even his parents have a role only as witnesses to his identity as their son, the blind beggar. The blind man is not recognised for who he is. We often talk of "assumed identities", but in the Gospel passage we see a powerful representation of 'forced identity'. In this, the blind man shares the experience of Christ, whom neither the crowd nor the Pharisees are willing to acknowledge for who he is.  

The newness of the sight of the man born blind is ignored by the Pharisees, the crowd, and even by his own parents. In his new condition, he remains for them as he had been before: an object, not a person, useful insofar as he can manifest the unlawfulness of Christ. Christ alone recognises the newness that is in him, the gift of sight in all its wonder. When before no one cared to share his wonder at seeing faces and colours, form and structure, Christ seeks him out to invite the response of faith in the language of sight, in the vision of Christ with the eyes of the body so that the mystery of Christ might be seen with the eyes of faith: so that sight might be the conduit of light even as light is the vehicle of seeing. In the marvellous experience of first sight, Christ invites the response of faith, that the first response of the experience of light, of seeing, of life might be the worship of the true light, Christ the Lord: "Jesus said to him, "You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he." He said, "I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him."

We live in a world saturated by sight, by the stimulation of the senses, particularly the sense of sight. The world transfixes our gaze, not to share in its wonder but to instrumentalise it for its own end: to sell a product, to induce a way of seeing the world that enslaves and wears down our capacity to see with the mind of the heart. Categorisation, caricature, calumny are the stock in trade of the world. In the words of T.S. Elliott, everyone must be "fixed with a formulated phrase.fixed and wriggling on a wall" (Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock). Casting out, wearing down, destroying, setting up for our own self-interested purpose requires but a 'tweet'. In the world of ever-expanding liberty, where is freedom to be found? Many of us live lives that are exposed, but not, for all that, transparent and free in themselves. The more we reveal about ourselves, the more does the mystery of who we are recede into the distance. We are an image of ourselves, a 'profile', a page, but less and less a canvas.
Christ invites us to set our gaze on him. He seeks us out, as he sought out the man born blind. Perhaps if each of us heard that question: "Do you believe in the Son of Man", we too might say, "Who is he. that I may believe in him"; we might be intrigued to know who he is who might be worthy of the first fruits of our spiritual sight. The response to that question is simply the invitation to look upon Christ. This might be just enough in the moments when we realise we wish to say that 'who' we are can no longer be answered by the world and its categories. What else have we to offer in terms of evangelisation and compassion, solidarity and relief but to draw one another's gaze to Christ, "For in your light we see light" (cf. Ps 36: 9).

In Christ we are revealed for who we are. In him we see with the light of God's grace. Looking upon him, we see the reflection of his own beauty that he has placed within us, whom he has made in his image and likeness. He continues to hover over the empty void that remains within us, to bring life out of nothingness, to bring redemption from condemnation and isolation. He seeks us out as he sought out the man born blind, attracted by the beauty he has created within us. It is a beauty that never be destroyed. We can never be detestable in his sight in who we are. His beauty endures. It is his spark within us. It is ready to spring back to life once the breadth of God blows over it, for as the first man was made from the clay of the earth, so the second Man is a life-giving Spirit.

In this time of exclusion and condemnation, of categorisation and marginalisation, of extreme and disaffection, the Christian is called to turn his gaze to Christ, to see in him the beauty of his being, to raise our mind from the din that surrounds us and from the priorities of the world and to see in Christ the reflection of who we are. Seeing in him our Creator and Redeemer, we too might be prompted with the blind man to give the first homage of our seeing to him, to "bow down and worship" (cf. Jn. 9: 39). It is the first act of our newfound freedom of the sons of God. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth" (cf. Eph. 5: 8-9).



Comments


More Living Faith

Virgin Mary appears in Africa, is it a WARNING? Watch

Image of The image looks eerily similar to common apparitions of Mary with her arms open.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Catholics in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are returning to church in droves, at least in one town. The Virgin Mary may have appeared to people in the border town of Zongo. Those who have seen the apparition believe it is a warning.  LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Pope Francis to visit Auschwitz but will not speak Watch

Image of Pope Francis to visit Auschwitz.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pope Francis will be visiting Auschwitz - but he refuses to deliver a speech. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Catholic News Agency, Pope Francis will be stopping by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp along his Polish journey for World Youth ... continue reading


END CHURCH SEXUAL ABUSE! Priest writes shocking memo, exposing corrupt, predator clerics Watch

Image of A scene from the movie, 'Karadima's Forest' about a pedophile priest. These people must not be protected by the Church.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A memo from an outraged priest has been published, along with a trove of other documents in a sex abuse cover up. The aim of the memo and the document release is to convince the Vatican to take action against two high ranking individuals. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


Vatican sponsors UN panel on Human Trafficking and here's the simple solution they found Watch

Image of A child slave works on a chocolate plantation.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

If you want to end child human trafficking, one solution is to pay workers more. This is one of the many solutions offered by a child human trafficking conference at the UN. The Vatican was one of the sponsors of the event. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - On ... continue reading


Why is this 'Black Madonna' so important? Watch

Image of Pope Francis is set to visit our Lady of Czestochowa.

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as the "Black Madonna," will be one of Pope Francis' primary stops during his visit to Poland at the end of this month for the global World Youth Day gathering. Rome, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - The image, which has been crowned the ... continue reading


5 Scriptures to help you overcome anxiety Watch

Image of God didn't create us to struggle with anxiety.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Anxiety comes in all shapes and sizes. It doesn't discriminate and it tears people to shreds in a relentless cycle - So what can we do to fight it? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The unfortunate truth is people tend to live in fear. This fear easily translates ... continue reading


'The answer is our Lord Jesus Christ': Bishop on Baton Rouge tragedy Watch

Image of Memorial for Baton Rouge (NBCDFW).

By (CNA/EWTN News)

Jesus Christ's triumph over death, despair and hate should move us forward after a deadly attack on law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, the city's bishop said Sunday. Baton Rouge, LA (CNA/EWTN News) - "Words cannot express the emotions we feel for those who have ... continue reading


'Miracles' film sets out to explain the unexplained Watch

Image of 'Miracles' is the first of a four-part documentary (Pinterest).

By Tonia Borsellino (CNA)

For both skeptics and believers, miracles have captivated people's attention for thousands of years. Swansea, United Kingdom (CNA) - That same intrigue led St. Anthony Communications to produce their latest film, 'Miracles.'The 35-minute documentary is the first of a ... continue reading


'Listen: this is the key word. Do not forget!': Pope Francis leads prayer for Nice victims Watch

Image of Pope Francis prays (Michael Ehrmann/Aleteia).

By Ann Schneible (CNA/EWTN News)

On Sunday, Pope Francis led the crowds in St. Peter's Square in prayers for the victims of Thursday's attack in Nice which left more than 80 people dead, including ten children. Vatican City, Italy (CNA/EWTN News) - "The pain of the massacre is alive in our hearts," ... continue reading


U.S. bishop may be sainted Watch

Image of Alphonse Gallegos (Eman Bonnici).

By Tonia Borsellino (CNA/EWTN News)

On July 8 Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate a decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Servant of God Alphonse Gallegos, who was auxiliary bishop of Sacramento from 1981 to 1991. Sacramento, CA (CNA/EWTN News) - The late ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 7:1-11
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying,2 'Stand ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a nest to place its ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:24-30
24 He put another parable before them, 'The kingdom of Heaven may be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 23rd, 2016 Image

St. Bridget of Sweden
July 23: Saint Birgitta was the daughter of Uppland's ... Read More