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.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Three great stories in the Gospel of John have for centuries served as Scriptural instructions for those preparing for Baptism.
Last week we heard the story of the Samaritan woman; next week that of Lazarus. Today the "man born blind" takes center stage. In Catholic parishes today, candidates for Baptism stand before us, perhaps picturing themselves as the man in the story. For the early Church, "illumination" was a theme of Baptism. Saint Augustine suggested that the man born blind stood for the whole human race needing to see the light of Christ.
The late Scripture scholar Father Raymond Brown notes that the man undergoes testing or questioning by various individuals after he is "enlightened." His witness develops until he finally encounters Jesus a second time and professes his faith. It's symbolic of how our faith grows through choices we make in life. Father Brown also notes how those around the man are affected by his initial encounter with Jesus. Some come to faith; others are hardened in their rejection of Jesus. No one remains indifferent, it seems.
How do we witness to Jesus? Can people detect the light of Christ shining in us? If not, perhaps part of our Lenten activity might involve a self-scrutiny, and some steps toward enlightenment.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In this week's first reading, (I Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a) God tells Samuel to go to Bethlehem to see Jesse. Why?
What did Samuel learn about the ways of God after Samuel had seen eight of Jesse’s sons?
Finally, who is the one God chose and told Samuel to anoint? What happened next?
• The second reading (Eph 5:8-14) tells us “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” What does that mean for us today?
Paul urges the Ephesians, and us, to live as children of light. What does Paul mean?
• In the Gospel, (Jn 9:1-41) Jesus sees a man born blind, but the disciples seem to think that this man or his parents had sinned. How does Jesus correct his disciples?
Jesus gives the man his sight. How did Jesus do that?
The man who had been born blind faced questions from the Jewish leaders. They even question the man’s parents, then ridicule the man because he thought Jesus must be a prophet. What do you think?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Notice the smells and sensations.
• Place candles throughout a room in your house. Begin with the room completely darkened. Slowly begin to light each of the candles. When each candle is lit, recite, "I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life." When all of the candles are lit, have someone read the Gospel.