Father Rodney Torbic

April 30 / May 13, 2018

The Sunday of the Blind Man

John 9:1-38

And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent Me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When He had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight. Then said they unto him, Where is He? He said, I know not. They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This Man is not of God, because He keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of Him, that He hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that He was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this Man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did He to thee? how opened He thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be His disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art His disciple; but we are Moses' disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence He is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence He is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this Man were not of God, He could do nothing. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him. (KJV)

The Gospel for the Sunday of the Blind Man

The current Gospel is an excellent source of comfort for individuals wondering why they suffer. At times individuals will question why they have a particular illness or affliction.

Individuals may assign unwarranted guilt to themselves. They may question what they have done wrong. Others observing a person with a particular illness or affliction may also conclude the person is suffering due to personal wrongdoing.

Certain illnesses or afflictions may be due to personal sin. The present Gospel indicates that is not always the case. Jesus said the blindness of the man was of no fault of the man or his parents. The blindness existed to reveal the works of God.

Jesus was fulfilling a purpose with the blind man. Jesus was doing the work of Him who sent Jesus. The time was at hand to do this work. Jesus would reveal His divine powers in the healing of the blind man.

Jesus would demonstrate that He, Jesus, was more than simply human. Jesus identified Himself as the light of the world. The darkness associated with blindness would be replaced by the brightness of sight.

The darkness of Great and Holy Friday was replaced by the brightness of the Resurrection. Gloom and despondency are replaced by the enduring hope resting in the Risen Christ.

Christ’s defeat of death demonstrates that with God all things are possible. (Mt. 19:26) Jesus opened new opportunities in life for the man born blind. When Jesus healed the blind man, the man had a whole new vision of life.

When Jesus enters the heart, mind and soul of a person, the world is seen much differently. Jesus gave the man greater freedom in life. The man was capable of seeing what he could not see before.

He was able to avoid obstacles that would be harmful to him. Individuals learning of Christ see harmful behaviors and paths leading to destruction of the soul. Persons who are blind to Christ embrace paths harmful to the soul.

Parents need to be careful about what they say and do in front of their sons and daughters. Immoral or unethical parental behavior lead sons and daughters to think certain types of un-Christian behavior are okay.

The blind man did not suffer due to the behavior of his parents. The blind man benefited from the goodness of God. The blind man benefited from Christ’s healing power.

The man gave credit to Jesus for the healing. The man did not forget Jesus changed his life. When Jesus changes our lives, when Jesus hears our prayers and heals us or heals our loved ones, we have a responsibility to be grateful.

We have a responsibility to thank Jesus for hearing our prayers and for healings that He does for us or for individuals for whom we pray.

The Pharisees took an interest in the healing of the blind man. The Pharisees questioned the man about the procedure used. Everyone questioning Christians about healings have not the purest of motivations.

Everyone asking Christians about their religious practices ask not out of interest in drawing nearer to Christ. The heart, soul and mind will reveal the purity of a person.

Outward behavior and inward conditions are not always the same. The Lord Jesus Christ said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” (Mt. 7:15)

The Pharisees were divided in their opinion about Jesus. Some doubted He was from God because they felt Jesus violated the Sabbath. Others were impressed by the actual healing. Jesus said: “You will know them by their fruits.” (Mt. 7:16)

When asked if He was the “Coming One”, Jesus told the followers of John the Baptist: “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” (Mt. 11:5)

St. John the Apostle and Evangelist said the world could not contain the books that could be written about Jesus. (Jn. 21:25). The parents of the man healed of blindness were careful in their response to questions about their son.

How sad it must have been for the parents not to be able to openly rejoice about the healing of their son. Conditions still exist in the current world where rejoicing and giving credit to Christ is stifled and even condemned.

Christians need to be resolute in faith and serious in practice to ensure Christianity is not diluted. Christians have a responsibility to love God and give thanks to God for the immeasurable blessings received.

God entrusted the care of this son to these parents. God blessed their marriage with the birth of this son. This son blind by birth would grow up to be a light of Christ for the world.

The healed man would grow up to be a source of hope for every person living in darkness. These parents were blessed with a son for whom they could fully and abundantly rejoice.

God knows the people that have lived through the centuries in cultures which stifled the practice of Christianity. God knows the people through the ages who have not had the freedom to witness to Christ.

God knows the individuals intimidated and fearful about being a Christian witness. The history of the Church bears record to the men, women and children who have stood fast publicly in their Christian identity even in the face of death

Great courage and faith are needed to witness to Christ in repressive environments. Let us be among the courageous Christians willing to step forth and speak up for what is right and proper in the communities where we live.

April 30 / May 13, 2018
The Sunday of the Blind Man.
Holy Apostle James, Brother of St. John the Theologian.

Fr. Rodney Torbic
Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania

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