As with last week, when the Samaritan women encounters Jesus, we again see this week an account of a transformation with the man born blind from birth. In both cases, neither are seeking the healing of Jesus, but they are open to Jesus as he encounters them in their present situations and are willing to be led by him. For the man born blind, Jesus, 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” (Jn 9:6-7).
After the man followed the guidance of Jesus and washed in the pool of Siloam he was healed and his sight was restored. He then returned to his neighbors and they noticed that not only was he no longer begging but that he could see. They then asked him how this came to be and the man shared about his encounter with Jesus. Because of this miracle, they then brought him before the Pharisees.
Because this healing happened on the Sabbath and this was not the first time Jesus did so, they wanted to understand what had happened with this man and also some were hoping to gather information to make a case against Jesus. Unfortunately for them, this man would only share that Jesus healed him, confirm that he was born blind, and he would also ask if they would like to be his disciples!
This man had received the gift of sight from his encounter with Jesus and his conviction and faith in Jesus grew the more he was questioned and challenged. This is often the opposite response for many of us. Would that we could have the same healing of our spiritual blindness such that we could see the depth of our own hunger deep within for God and the needs of those around us.
With the present pandemic that we are experiencing on a world-wide scale, we can react with ever-growing anxiety and fear of the unknown or we can see with the eyes of faith and look at this as an opportunity to assess what is truly important in our lives.
We may be asked to remain in self-imposed quarantine, but that does not mean we are no longer in contact with one another. We have technological means through phone, different video applications, social media, and email, as well as time to take stock regarding opportunities we have taken for granted like going to Mass. A video Mass is not the same as being in person and receiving the Eucharist. Yet, being away from receiving the Eucharist could be just the opportunity for us to rekindle an appreciation that so many have lost. As many as 70% of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of the Eucharist.
Also, with a little more time for some of us and staring at death a little more closely than we usually do, we can regain a greater appreciation for each other. We can recognize how fragile our lives really are and better appreciate the gift of our humanity. This time can also be an opportunity to rekindle our relationship with God with some quiet and reflective prayer and meditation individually and with our families.
The man born blind was grateful for the gift of receiving his sight, so much so that he came to believe and worship the one who healed him. Maybe we too can come out of this present crisis more deeply committed to living as a disciple of Jesus and loving each other as he loves us through the many doctors and nurses who are putting their lives at risk to be present to those who are in need of healing from this virus.
Photo: This is a time to ask ourselves what brings us joy?