“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world”(Jn 9:5)

by Shiu Lan

This week’s Gospel reading presents an amazing and unique miracle of faith and healing; Jesus gives sight to a beggar born blind.

It is on a Sabbath day when Jesus opens his eyes. Instead of rejoicing with the man cured of blindness, the Pharisees are divided. Some say that Jesus “is not from God” for in their view he does not observe the Sabbath as a sacred day of rest; while others ask, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” (Jn 9:16). They are unable to see what Jesus fulfills is the true intent of the Sabbath; he offers the man “rest” after long years of blindness (Ref. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible New Testament P180 on (14)).

Although he keeps testifying “I am the man” who has received the gift of sight, people are still full of disbeliefs (9). They question whether he is indeed the blind person who used to beg or a look-alike. They go to his parents whose testimony would be the most credible of all since they would have known him from birth (Ref (20), ICSB NT P180). While the parents confirm that he is their son who was born blind, they say they do not know how “now their son sees” nor “who opened his eyes” for fear of the Jewish authorities and direct them to ask their son who is “of age” (21).

The son’s dialogue with the Pharisees is impressive in that it shows his courage, fortitude and unrelenting faith in Jesus. Unlike his parents, he is not fearful that “anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue”, that is, excommunication from the fellowship and worship of the Jews ((22), Ref. ICSB NT P180). He gives a powerful and fearless testimony that Jesus is from God, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He does listen to one who worships Him and obeys His will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing” (31-33). Indeed, in the Old Testament, Tobit has been healed of temporary blindness, but he was not blind from birth (Ref Tobit 2:9-10, 11:7-15; ICSB NT on (32) P 181).

Eventually when Jesus finds him who has been cast out, tells him he is the Son of Man and asks him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He said, “Lord, I believe” and worships Jesus (38). What a beautiful ending to this miracle! We witness his faith in Jesus deepens as the story unfolds: at first, he said that Jesus is the “man” (11); then he is a “prophet” (17); he is from God (Ref 33) and finally, Jesus is the “Lord” whom he worships (38).

Jesus is the source of our truth, faith, and life. Giving physical sight to the blind is a sign of Jesus giving us the spiritual sight to see earth in light of heaven, to see time in light of eternity and to see our lives in light of our destiny (Ref ICSB NT P180). Jesus is the Light of the world and he promises those who follow him “will not walk in darkness, but will have light of life” (8:12). His promise of light gives us hope in these troubling times when darkness surrounds us and we are in danger of losing our way.