Sunday, March 22, 2009
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.
His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
"Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?"
Some said, "It is," but others said, "No, he just looks like him."
He said, "I am." So they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?"
He replied, "The man called Jesus made clay and
anointed my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.'
So I went there and washed and was able to see."
And they said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know."
They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed,
and now I can see." So some of the Pharisees said,
"This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath."
But others said, "How can a sinful man do such signs?"
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
"What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?"
He said, "He is a prophet."
Now the Jews did not believe
that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned
the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them,
"Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?"
His parents answered and said,
"We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for himself."
His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews,
for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged
him as the Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said, "He is of age; question him."
So a second time they called the man who had been blind
and said to him, "Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner."
He replied, "If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see."
So they said to him, "What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?" He answered them,
"I told you already and you did not listen.
Why do you want to hear it again?
Do you want to become his disciples, too?"
They ridiculed him and said, "You are that man's disciple;
we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses,
but we do not know where this one is from."
The man answered and said to them, "This is what is so amazing,
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything."
They answered and said to him,
"You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?"
Then they threw him out.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
He answered and said, "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?"
Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he."
He said, "I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind."
Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him,
"Surely we are not also blind, are we?" Jesus said to them,
"If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying,
'We see,' so your sin remains.
Rev. Leo Polselli, C.S.C. '62
Chaplain, Father Peyton Center
Holy Cross Family Ministries
Spring break at Stonehill brings with it the HOPE trips that send scores of students to a variety of locations to engage in works of service and community building. One group has been going to Peru and one of the works they participate in is Yancana Huasy, an association created to promote and improve the quality of life of physically and mentally challenged people through a program of integral rehabilitation. Students meet people who in the not too distant past were kept hidden away by family members. Could it be that the shame families felt reflected the thinking that Jesus encountered in the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent when he was asked if the man born blind was blind because of his own sin or the sin of his parents? As a priest I have encountered this thinking especially the thought that the sins of a parent may have contributed to the illness or deformity of a family member. My own response was the response of Jesus in the Gospel. Neither.
Returning to the visit of Stonehill students to Yancana Huasy, there they witness the truth of Jesus' response when he said "it is so that the works of God might be made visible through them". Indeed they will meet mentally and physically challenged men and women whose smile will warm their hearts; they will evidence art work and crafts that give dignity through work. They will be introduced to men and women who serve as mentors and companions making God visible through the services they perform. In many instances the students will return to Stonehill with a renewed willingness to do the works of the One who calls and sends us while it is still day. It is a calling that goes out to everyone of us who hears this Gospel today. The broken people of our world are legion and are broken in a variety of ways, a challenge that ought to elicit a response from us regardless of the nature of their brokenness. When we respond with concern, compassion, we are making God visible today.