The Fourth Sunday in Lent
“Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, “We see,” your sin remains.’ ” — John 9:41
Blindness as a prerequisite for the forgiveness of sins? Is Jesus really saying that unless one becomes blind they cannot inherit the kingdom? It seems that he is—at least if one understands what he means by being “blind”.
Our gospel text this Sunday brings us to the very familiar story about the man born blind whom Jesus heals on the Sabbath at the Temple. This episode in the life of Jesus and this young man born blind highlights something deep in the heart of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. For as Jesus says, this man was not born blind because of sin, but rather to reveal the works of God.
But what are the works of God? One place we read of them is in Genesis chapters 1–3. God makes the heavens and the earth and he forms man from the dust of the earth. Could it be, that what Jesus is teaching with respect to this man is not simply that God has come to “undo the effects of sin” but perhaps just as much to “bring to completion” his creation. Even the “formation of clay” from his own saliva suggests such a connection with God’s making of man from the same “clay”. Could it be that Christ came to bring all creation to its perfection—its completion, namely, the full revelation of the One God: Father, Son and Spirit? And that one of the steps along this journey is the fashioning of our eyes to see. Perhaps we have all been born blind… not just because we are sinners, but also, and perhaps more truly, simply to reveal the works of God?