Christ, the light of our life
4th Sunday of Lent, Year A (John 9:1-41)
March 26, 2017
By Fr. Sal Putzu, SDB
Blindness is always a serious physical handicap and an immense tragedy. A blind person is unable to enjoy the splendor of light, the endless gradation of colors, the beauty of the scenery around him. He lives enveloped in a deep, endless night! Blindness makes a person totally dependent, insecure, exposed to insult or any sort of danger.
Jesus was aware of all this and, in his mercy and power, he restored the sight to several people. (See Mt 9:27-30; 12:22; 20:30). To the man born blind featured in today’s Gospel he gave two gifts: the gift of sight, and the much more precious gift of faith, the spiritual enlightenment which enables a person to “see” far beyond what human eyes can see.
Restoring sight to the blind was an aspect of the Messiah’s saving mission itself. (See Is 42:7 and Lk 4:18.) As he himself solemnly declared, Jesus is “the light of the world,” that “real light which enlightens every man” and which no darkness will ever overcome. (See Jn 9:5.9.)
Yet, even Jesus’ brightness remains impotent in front of the “blindness of the heart,” the blindness of those who – like his enemies—refuse to see God’s presence and action in him. Their pride and prejudice blind them to the truth and, as long as they persist in their negative attitude, they will never be able to see the light.
At all times and in all places, there have been people who are “spiritually blind.” They lack the sight of faith, and therefore, are unable to recognize God’s presence and action within and around themselves. They stop at the surface of events and things. For as long as they persist in their attitude, they will never be able to penetrate the depth of meaning that God places in all that happens in us and around us.
As for us, who have enjoyed the supernatural vision of faith since our childhood, we should be endlessly grateful to God for such a gift. “Christ, our light!” proclaims the deacon during the Easter Vigil. And we reply, “Thanks be to God!” A proclamation of the faith of the Church and a firm manifestation of our gratitude for such a gift. We should treasure it as one of the most precious assets in life. We should treasure it even more jealously than we treasure our physical eyesight.
But this is not all. In today’s passage from his Letter to the faithful of Ephesus, the apostle Paul uses two “explosive” sentences: “You were once darkness” and “Now you are light in the world.” The two expression stand for two contrasting ways of being and behaving. Paul has in mind the darkness of sin—the sins of rejecting God, of immorality, dishonesty , and pride . . The darkness of that form of godless behavior is so deep as to make the whole person “darkness” itself.
Gods’gift of faith changed all that drastically. In place of those attitudes and actions that it is even shameful to mention them, there came “every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth”—a life lived as “children of light.” And so penetrating and bright is the splendor of such a faith-inspired behavior, that the whole person becomes “light.”! Such is the wonderful truth to be reflected upon: a transforming truth to be lived out.