Coffee with Sr. Vassa: Ep.48: The Blind Man (John 9)

by 1389 on March 24, 2015

in 1389 (blog admin), Bible, Orthodox Christianity

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Published on Mar 23, 2015 by Coffee with Sr. Vassa
Subtitles: ENGLISH and SPANISH
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This episode reflects on the healing of the man born blind, in John 9. A weekly, catechetical program based on the Byzantine liturgical calendar and hosted by Dr. Sr. Vassa Larin, a liturgiologist at the University of Vienna in Austria.

We have a fascinating topic to discuss today, zillions. It is the Gospel narrative about how Jesus healed the man who was born blind. It is read in church on the 6th Sunday after Pascha, just two weeks before the great feast of Pentecost, when we celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. Let‘s see how this reading can help us to recognize our own various forms of blindness, and why it‘s vital for us to recognize our blindness in order to receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit, celebrated on Pentecost.

Before we look at this Gospel-reading, which forms part of our preparation for Pentecost, let‘s remind ourselves that the weeks between Pascha and Pentecost are, indeed, an intense period of preparation, just as Lent was a period of preparation for Pascha. You know, many of us devote time and energy to intensify our prayers and spiritual mindfulness during Lent, but then, after reaching Pascha, we tend to weak-en these efforts and re-turn to business as usual, until next year‘s Lent. – As if Christ‘s death and Resurrection were the end of the story of Christ‘s salvific works for us. But the sending down of the Holy Spirit on the 50th day after Pascha is an equally important chapter in the history of our salvation, because He, the Holy Spirit, and His divine energies, are what make our life in Christ, and the salvific, sacrament-al, and life-giving existence of the Church, possible. So let‘s try to re-gain our focus and pay attention in the weeks before Pentecost, so that our eyes will be open to the vision and gift of that great feast.

Let‘s take a lo-ok, together, at how the healing of the blind man is described in the 9th chapter of the Gospel of John: “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.“ I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said these things, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And he said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.“ (Jn 9: 1-7) After this the Gospel tells us how the healed man is brought before the Pharisees, who refuse to believe that Jesus opened the man‘s eyes, saying that Jesus is not from God, because He did not keep the Sabbath. You see, it was the Sabbath when the blind man was healed. After questioning both the parents of the man born blind, and the man himself, they finally cast him out of the synagogue. At the very end of this chapter, which I can‘t quote in full because we only have 10 minutes, the Lord once again speaks to the healed man and reveals to him that He is the Son of God, and the man worships Him, saying “Lord, I believe!“ (Jn 9:38)

Then Christ says: “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.“ Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind al-so?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” (Jn 9: 39-41)

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