ON THE SABBATH, Jesus and His disciples came on a blind beggar near the temple. It was generally believed that a father’s sins could be punished in his children, and the disciples said, “Rabbi, who has sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” He said:
“Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents, but the works of God were to be made manifest in him.”
“I must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.”
Then He spat on the ground, mixed the spittle with dirt, and spread the moist earth on the blind man’s eyes. And He said to him:
“Go, wash in the pool of Siloe.”
The man washed the clay from his eyes, and was able to see for the first time in his life. When he returned, the people who knew him did not recognize him at first, but he assured them of his identity and told them what he knew of his cure.
Now he was brought before the Pharisees and subjected to a strict interrogation. Some of his questioners saw in what had happened a violation of the Sabbath. Others disagreed, asking how a sinner could work such signs. There was some question as to whether the man had been really blind at all, and they summoned his parents and asked them.
The parents were reticent, for the Jews had agreed to excommunicate anyone who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah. They said simply, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees we do not know, or who opened his eyes we ourselves do not know. Ask him; he is of age, let him speak for himself.”
Then the Pharisees called up the man again, and asked him to change his testimony. “Give glory to God! We ourselves know that this man is a sinner.”
“Whether He is a sinner,” said the former beggar, “I do not know. One thing I do know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.”
His questioners persisted. “What did He do to thee? How did He open thy eyes?”
But the man said, “I have told you already, and you have heard. Why would you hear again? Would you also become His disciples?”
“Thou art His disciple,” they said sneering, “but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses; but as for this man, we do not know where He is from.”
He turned on his questioners then and said boldly, “Why, herein is the marvel, that you do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes. Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshipper of God, and does His will, him He hears. Not from the beginning of the world has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”
Exasperated, they cast him out, but Jesus found him and said:
“Dost thou believe in the Son of God?”
“Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?” This protege of Jesus was now seeking a new kind of vision, and Jesus answered:
“Thou has both seen Him, and He it is who speaks with thee.”
“I believe, Lord,” said the man. He fell down and worshiped Him. And Jesus said:
“For judgment have I come into this world, that they who do not see may see, and they who see may become blind.”
Some Pharisees asked if they, too, were blind. He said:
“If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, he who enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up another way, is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is shepherd of the sheep. To this man the gatekeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them forth. And when he has let out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
Explaining this parable, He said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All whoever have come are thieves and robbers; but the sheep have not heard them. I am the door. If anyone enter by Me he shall be safe, and shall go in and out, and shall find pastures. The thief comes only to steal, and slay, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. But the hireling, who is not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees. And the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep; but the hireling flees because he is a hireling, and has no concern for the sheep.”
“I am the good shepherd, and I know Mine and Mine know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for My sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again. Such is the command I have received from My Father.”
Meditation: When the man who had been cured of blindness was brought before the Pharisees for questioning, he found himself faced with those who, though they claimed to be “religious,” were trying to discredit Jesus. To them the cured man answered simply, “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.” To which the Pharisees could say nothing, so they cast him out. They were unwilling to bow even before the evidence of a miracle. Even “religious” people can proudly persist in their errors.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 139-142. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.