Red and white tulips on the Cathedral grounds

John 9:18-41

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

Today’s gospel is a part of a longer and complicated story about a man born blind. We enter into the story as the man is being questioned about the one, Jesus, who has restored his sight. The questioners are set to prove that Jesus is a sinner and not who he says he is. And so, they first point to the man’s healing as evidence that Jesus broke the law by working on the Sabbath. In this second round of questioning, they try to cast doubt on whether the man was actually born blind and, thus, whether Jesus really restored his sight. And herein lies the irony of the story.

“All I know is that I was blind but now I see.” The man who was born blind had his eyes opened to a whole new world—a world where he can now see the presence of God, that is Jesus, in his midst. Yet, those who were born with eyesight so stubbornly cling to the ways of the world that is theirs, that they cannot see the presence of God that is right in front of them. They are blinded to the blessings and possibilities of God in their very midst.

How often is it that we are blinded by the biases and limitations of our fears, our anxieties, doubts, or just by the busyness and routines of our living, that we cannot see God’s miraculous presence in our everyday lives—opening our eyes to a new world of possibilities for ourselves and others? As long and complicated as this gospel story may be, its message to us is short and simple: Take the blinders off of our own eyes—whatever those blinders may be—so that we can see the new possibilities for our living that is God in our very midst. And so it is, we are called to an eye-opening Lenten journey.

In faith,

Almighty God, open our eyes so that we may see your presence, opening us to the possibilities of who we are and who we can be as your people in this your world.

May it be so!