FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT — Year A

Gospel: John 9:1-41

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

As Jesus and the disciples walked along, they saw someone who had been blind from birth.  The disciples asked Jesus, “Rabbi, was it this individual’s sin or that of the parents that caused the blindness?” “Neither,” answered Jesus,

“There was no sin, either of this person or of the parents:

Rather, it was to let God’s works show forth in this person.

We must do the deeds of the One who sent me while it is day.

Night is coming when no one can work.

While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

With that, Jesus spat on the ground, made mud with his saliva, and smeared the blind person’s eyes with the mud.  Then Jesus said, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.”  “Siloam” means “sent.”  So the person went off and washed, and came back able to see.

Neighbors, and those who had been accustomed to seeing the blind beggar began to ask, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some were claiming it was, others maintained it was not but someone who looked like the blind person.  But the individual in question said, “I am the one.”  The people then asked, “How were your eyes opened?”  The answer came, “The one they

call Jesus made mud and smeared it on my eyes, and told me to go to Siloam and wash.  When I did go and wash, I was able to see.” “Where is Jesus?” they asked.  The person replied, “I have no idea.”

It was on a Sabbath that Jesus had made the mud paste and opened the eyes of the one born blind.  When they took the one who had been born blind to the Pharisees, the Pharisees, in turn, began to inquire how the individual had been healed.  They were told, “The one they call Jesus put mud on my eyes.  I washed it off, and now I can see.”  This prompted some of the Pharisees to assert, “This Jesus cannot be from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath.” Others objected, “How could a sinner perform signs like these?” They were sharply divided over Jesus.

Then they addressed the blind person again, “Since it was your eyes he opened, what do you have to say about this Jesus?”  “He is a prophet,” came the reply. The Temple authorities refused to believe that this one had really been born blind and had begun to see, until they summoned the parents.  “Is this your child?” they asked, “and if so, do you attest that your child was blind at birth?  How do you account for the fact that now your child can see?”  The parents answered: “We know this is our child, blind from birth.  But how our child can see now, or who opened those blind eyes, we have no idea.  But don’t ask us – our child is old enough to speak without us.

The parents answered in this fashion because they were afraid of the Temple authorities, who had already agreed among themselves that anyone who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.  That was why they said, “Our child is of age – and should be asked directly.”

A second time they summoned the one who had been born blind and said, “Give God the glory instead; we know this Jesus is a sinner.”  “I do not know whether he is a sinner or not,” the individual answered.  “I know this much: I was blind before; now I can see.” They persisted: “Just what did he do to you?  How did he open your eyes?”  “I already told you, but you would not listen to me,” came the answer.  “Why do you want to hear it all over again?  Don’t tell me you want to become disciples of Jesus too!”  They retorted scornfully, “You are the one who is Jesus’ disciple.  We are disciples of Moses.  We know that God spoke to Moses, but we have no idea where this Jesus comes from.”  The other came back at them, “Well, this is news!  You do not know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.  We know that God does not hear sinners, but that if people are devout and obey the divine will, God listens to them. It is unheard of that anyone ever gave sight to a person blind from birth.  If this one were not from God, Jesus could never have done such a thing!”  “What!” they exclaimed.  “You are steeped in sin from birth, and you are giving us lectures?”  With that, they threw the person out bodily.

When Jesus heard of this expulsion, he sought out the healed one and asked, “Do you believe in the Chosen One?”  The other answered, “Who is this one, that I may believe?”  “You have seen him,” Jesus replied.  “He is speaking to you now.”  The healed one said, “Yes, I believe,” and worshiped Jesus.  And Jesus said, “I came into this world to divide it, to make the sightless see and the seeing blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were near picked this up, saying, “You are not calling us blind, are you?”  To which Jesus replied, “If you were blind, there would be no sin in that.  But since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

The Good News as spoken through John.