Sixth Sunday after Paskha. The Blind Man. (Pericope 34)
Christ is Risen!
Today we heard the Gospel reading about how the blind man was cured. Typically, the Lord cured with a word, but did so secretly. This time, the Lord spit on the earth, made clay of the spittle, anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing (John 9: 6-7).
News of this miracle quickly spread throughout Jerusalem and became a topic of general discussion. The newly-sighted was brought to the Pharisees. But the Pharisees and the elders of Israel were against the Lord from the very start and this time they did not want to believe either. They started asking the blind man questions, then people he knew and his parents to find out something to cast doubts on the recent miracle. But the fact remained a fact. The only thing they could find fault with is that the miracle was done on the Sabbath, and they said, “This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath day.” But not all agreed with this, “How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?” The newly-sighted reflected simply, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” (John 9).
During all these conversations and interrogations the newly sighted did not yet know Who had cured him. When the Lord saw the courage displayed by the newly-sighted, upon encountering him again He asked: Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (John 9: 35). When he learned Who had cured him, he worshipped Him. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind (John 9: 38-39). The Pharisees, once they understood that it was about them, asked, “Are we blind also?” To which the Lord replied, “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 9: 40-41). Here the Lord is speaking of the Pharisees' spiritual blindness. The most awful thing about spiritual blindness is that a person does not realize she is so afflicted.
What are the reasons for spiritual blindness? Pride, envy, and malice. Pride prevents a person from seeing his own shortcomings. Envy and malice prevent a person from seeing others' virtues. The Pharisees in their pride did not acknowledge their ignorance; and their envy and spite vis-à-vis the Divine Teacher made them see even His great works in a bad light. This happened with the Pharisees, but something similar frequently happens with us, too.
Each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, has pride, which prevents us from seeing our infirmities and failings, and if we experience a feeling of hostility towards some other person, then this feeling obscures from us the good sides of that person's character, and we see mainly bad things, and, perceiving wrongly, we become spiritually blind.
How can we be cured of spiritual blindness? We'll defeat pride with humility, which opens our eyes to our failings. With respect to our neighbors we will cultivate meekness, lenience, and love, which will open our eyes to their good sides.
In many instances, spiritual clear-sightedness is a kind of spiritual discretion principally concerning what is most important in our lives and how we should live to achieve salvation.
The Lord preferred not to heal the blind man immediately, but to send him to the Pool of Siloam. For us, our Pool of Siloam is the Holy Church, in the plentiful waters of which flows God's grace. By imitating the blind man, we will run to this spiritual source that is the Holy Church to wash away the sinful mud from our minds, our feelings, our desires, and our consciences so that the path of salvation leading to the Heavenly Kingdom becomes clear to us. Amen.