Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Great Lent week 6
Volume 8 No. 468 March 16, 2018
II. Lectionary Reflections: Healing The Blind Man

Jesus and the Man Born Blind: Seeing Jesus in the Darkness

by Ferdinand Funk

Gospel: John 9:1-41

1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
3"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. 4As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. 5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
6Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man's eyes. 7"Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam" (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
8His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, "Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" 9Some claimed that he was.

Others said, "No, he only looks like him."
But he himself insisted, "I am the man."
10"How then were your eyes opened?" they demanded.

11He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see."

12"Where is this man?" they asked him.
"I don't know," he said.

The last couple of weeks our church has had a bit of a "Job (Hiob) experience". We're all familiar with the story of Job: One day when his sons and daughters are together at a family celebration, and a messenger comes running and tells him the bad news that his servants on the field had been under attack and everyone was killed; he is the only one who is left. Then, three times following in the next few verses we read:

"While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said…" and again
"While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said…" and again
"While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said…"

Job experienced one devastating blow after another.

Tragedy can strike so quickly and unpredictably. While going about our every day lives, in a moment, in the blink of an eye, our world can be changed. For many in our congregational family this is the story of the past number of weeks. On a wider scale, September 11th is still very much burnt in our cultural psyche as we come to the 6 month anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the US. Thousands were killed for reasons that we fail to understand.

In the wake of tragedy we have a tendency to put God on trial. We ask, "where is God when we hurt?" Haven't we all asked this question at one time or another? I mean, we trust that God did not cause that tragedy. We believe that God does not punish us for some sin that we have willingly or unknowingly committed. The Bible states clearly that God does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men (Lamentations 3:33).

The greater problem for most believers is this: Why does God allow such awful things to happen? Jesus' disciples asked this thorny question almost 2000 years ago. They met a man one day who had been born blind.

In the first century, most people believed that all suffering was the result of sin. So the disciples asked Jesus, "Who sinned in this case, this blind man or his parents?"

There was even one school of thought that believed that a person could sin before being born, while still in the mother's womb. Imagine that! The disciples begged, "Tell us, Jesus, Why was this man born blind?" Jesus did not respond with a neat, simple answer to the problem of human suffering.

We too are wise not to give easy and simplistic answers like Job's friends attempted to do. There is a humbling episode in a British movie entitled, "Whistle in the Wind." A group of kids had experienced the death of their pet kitten. They had prayed fervently that the cat would get well, but instead it died. They couldn't understand this. So, they went in search of the local pastor. They found him in a teashop, taking a morning break, enjoying his tea and newspaper. They asked him, "Why did God let our cat die?" The good pastor was not delighted to be interrupted about the matter of a deceased cat. But out of duty he laid aside his paper and launched into a long, complex, theological response to this question. The children stood and listened intently. When he finished he wished them well and went back to his newspaper. The children walked away somewhat bewildered. One little boy, holding his older sister's hand, looked up at her and said, "He doesn't know, does he?" How perceptive children can be. Never in this world will we understand all the mystery surrounding suffering.

Let us turn to the story of the blind man. Notice that Jesus got the blind man and his parents off the hook. According to Jesus, the blindness was not the result of the sin of either party. Rather, as a sign that he is the light of the world, Jesus gives sight to a man born blind (9:1-41)

Our text is first "introduced" in John 8:12: "Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.' Just as a miraculous feeding of thousands with bread and fish illustrates that Jesus is the bread of life (6:1-14, 35-65); so now he illustrates that he is the light of the world by giving sight to a man in darkness.

The miracle itself is reported in only two verses. The majority of this text centers on the interrogations which follow to the end of chapter 9 (we don't have time this morning to go into details about this fascinating turn of events).

As with most texts of John, there can be a literal level -- the healing of a blind man; and a figurative level -- blindness = not understanding what God is doing in the lives of people.

If we look at the context of the Gospel of John, we wonder if John was addressing a particular issue in the life of the early Christian community. When John wrote the Gospel, Jesus had already returned to the Father, and the early church felt the real pain of separation and the darkness of a world that was not too kind to Christians. Jesus' followers were discouraged, and they were wondering how they could live in such a dark world without their Lord and Master. They were wondering how to cope with the physical and more specifically spiritual darkness and disorientation in Christ's absence.

Jesus challenges the common perception of sin. He challenges the thinking that suffering is the direct result of sin. The Common View, based on Ex 20:5 & Dt 5:9 was that God promises to punish "children for the iniquity of their parents, to the third and fourth generation"; and so a birth defect – as in the case of the man born blind - was seen as the result of the parent's (or grandparent's) sin. (b) Another view is expressed in Ezekiel 18:20: "A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own"; and so a birth defect must have been the result of sins committed in the womb by the child. Jesus says that this man's blindness is not the result of the parents' sin nor of the blind man's sin.

One thing that jumps off the pages in this story is that the man who has received sight is immediately put on the witness stand. He has to answer so many questions from his neighbours, his family, and the Pharisees. By telling his story over and over again, the blind man doesn't seem to convert anyone -- in fact he seems to have made the Pharisees somewhat angry. But, he learns much about his faith through his witness to the doubting questioners. When he first talks to the Pharisees, he says that "a man named Jesus" healed him (v. 11). Later he calls him "a prophet" (v. 17). Finally he realizes that Jesus cannot be a sinner (v. 31) and that he has come from God (v. 33).

The man who had received sight didn't even have to initiate the conversations. There was such an obvious transformation from the "old" to the "new," that others asked, "What happened to you?" "How did it happen?" "Who did this to you?"

Jesus says in vv. 3-4a, "Neither this one sinned nor his parents have sinned, but this has come to pass so that the works of God might be manifest in him. We must work the works of the one who sent me...." What motivated the miracle was not the man's blindness, not his needs, not his prayers (he didn't even ask for the healing,) but the need to make God's work manifest.

As we experience dark and difficult times in our lives that sometimes cause the eyes of our faith to be blinded, may we also encounter the living Christ, who gives sight to the blind. May we also recognize that God is present with us in our trials and temptations, and may we glorify God in all circumstances of our lives.

Let us come to Jesus in Faith and ask him to open our eyes – that we may understand God's will. May we praise God for what he has done in our lives.

Source: SoundFaith Copyright 2017 Faithlife

മശിഹായെ കാണാത്തവര്‍
(People Who Haven't Seen The Messiah)

by Rev. Fr. Jose Daniel Paitel

Gospel: St. John. 9:37.

പിറവിയില്‍ ത്തന്നെ അന്ധനായ ഒരുവനു കാഴ്ച ലഭിച്ച ഈ അത്ഭുതത്തില്‍ മറ്റു സന്ദര്‍ഭങ്ങളില്‍ നിന്നു വ്യത്യസ്ഥമായി തുപ്പല്‍ ചേറു എന്ന മാദ്ധ്യമം കര്‍ത്താവു ഉപയോഗിച്ചു. മറ്റു പല സന്ദര്‍ഭങ്ങളേയും പോലെ ഇതും ഒരു ശാബതുദിവസത്തി ലായിരുന്നു. ശിഷ്യന്‍മാരുടെ ചോദ്യം യേശുവിനെ ഈ പ്രവൃത്തിയ്ക്കു പ്രേരിപ്പി ക്കുന്ന ഘടകമായിരുന്നു എന്നേയുള്ളൂ. പൂര്‍വ്വപിതാക്കന്‍മാരുടെ പാപങ്ങള്‍ പിന്‍തലമുറകളുടെ ശിക്ഷയ്ക്കു കാരണമാകും എന്ന ചിന്ത എല്ലാ സമൂഹങ്ങ ളിലും രൂഡമൂലമായിരിക്കുന്നതു പോലെ അന്നത്തെ യഹൂദമതത്തിലും വിശ്വസി പ്പിക്കപ്പെട്ടിരുന്നു. എന്നാല്‍ ഇവന്‍റെ അന്ധതയ്ക്കു കാരണം അന്നുവരെ വിശ്വ സിക്കപ്പെട്ടിരുന്നതൊന്നുമല്ല, എന്നാലോ ദൈവമഹത്വം ഇവനില്‍ പ്രതിഫലി ക്കേണ്ടതിനത്രേ ഇവന്‍ അന്ധനായിരിക്കുന്നതു എന്ന പ്രധാനവും വിഭിന്നവുമായ മറ്റോരു കാരണമാണു കര്‍ത്താവു അരുളിച്ചെയ്തതു. ഈ സന്ദര്‍ഭത്തില്‍ ഈ അത്ഭുതത്തിന്‍റെ ഗഹനമായ വിഷയങ്ങളെക്കുറിച്ചുണ്ടായിട്ടുള്ള ചിന്തകളും പഠന ങ്ങളും മറക്കുന്നില്ല. ഇതേ സംബന്ധിച്ചുള്ള എന്റെ മുന്‍ ലേഖനങ്ങള്‍ ചിലതു വായിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളവര്‍ ഉണ്ടാകാം. എങ്ങിനെയാണ് ഈ അന്ധന്‍ കര്‍ത്താവിനെ കണ്ടതു. എന്തുകൊണ്ടു ഈ അത്ഭുതം കണ്ടവര്‍ കര്‍ത്താവിനെ സാക്ഷിയ്ക്കുവാന്‍ മടിച്ചു,അല്ലെങ്കില്‍ എന്തുകൊണ്ടു ഈ അത്ഭുതം കണ്ടവര്‍ക്കാര്‍ക്കും കര്‍ത്താ വിനെ സാക്ഷിക്കുവാന്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞില്ല. ഇക്കാലത്തെ സഭയുടെ പരാജയമാണിതു. കര്‍ത്താവിനെ സാക്ഷിയ്ക്കുവാന്‍ കഴിയാത്ത ക്രൈസ്തവ സഭ.

ഈ അത്ഭുതത്തെ സംബന്ധിച്ചുള്ള പല ചിന്തകളില്‍ പ്രധാനമായതു, കര്‍ത്താവ് സൃഷ്ടിയുടെ വൈകല്യം പരിഹരിക്കുകയായിരുന്നു എന്നതാണു. ഏറ്റവും പ്രധാന പ്പെട്ട ഒരു വിശദീകരണമാണതു. സൃഷ്ടിയില്‍ത്തന്നെ വൈകല്യം സംഭവിക്കുക എന്നതു ഒരു പുതിയ കാര്യമല്ല. അപ്രകാരമുള്ള വൈകല്യങ്ങള്‍ പരിഹരിക്കുക ക്ഷിപ്രസാദ്ധ്യവുമല്ല. അതുമായി ബന്ധപ്പെട്ടതല്ല ഞാന്‍ നിങ്ങളുമായി പങ്കുവയ്ക്കുന്ന ചിന്ത. 9:37 “നീ അവനെ കണ്ടു കഴിഞ്ഞു” എന്നു കര്‍ത്താവു ദരിദ്രനായ ഒരു ഭിക്ഷക്കാരന്റെ മുമ്പില്‍ സ്വയം പരിചയപ്പെടുത്തുന്ന സന്ദര്‍ഭം ആണു . ഈ സാധു അന്ധനായിരുന്നതിനാല്‍ അവനു ഈ ലോക സംബന്ധമായ ഒന്നിനെക്കുറിച്ചും അറിവുണ്ടായിരുന്നില്ല എന്നു നാം സമ്മതിക്കേണ്ടിവരും. പക്ഷേ സാധാരണഗതിയില്‍ അന്ധത അറിവിനു പരിധി നിര്‍ണ്ണയിക്കാറില്ല എന്ന യാഥാര്‍ത്ഥ്യം നാം മറക്കരുതു. ഇവന്‍ യേശുവിനേക്കുറിച്ചു ഇദം പ്രഥമ മായി കേള്‍ക്കുന്നു എന്നതുപോലെയാണു ഈ സുവിശേഷം രേഖപ്പെടുത്തിയിരി ക്കുന്നതു. എന്നാല്‍ ഇവന്‍റെ മാതാപിതാക്കള്‍ അങ്ങനെയാവാന്‍ വഴിയില്ല. അവര്‍ക്കു യേശുവിനേക്കുറിച്ചു അറിയാം. യേശുവിനെക്കുറിച്ചു അവന്‍ തങ്ങളുടെ മകനു സൌഖ്യം നല്‍കിയതിനാല്‍ കാഴ്ച പ്രാപിച്ചതിലുള്ള അത്ഭുതമോ സന്തോ ഷമോ ആശ്വാസമോ ഒന്നും പ്രകടിപ്പിക്കാതെ യഹൂദ മതനേതൃത്വത്തെ ഭയന്നും അനുസരിച്ചും യേശുവിനേക്കുറിച്ചു സാക്ഷി പറയാന്‍ ഭയക്കുന്നവരായാണു സുവി ശേഷകന്‍ അവരെ ചിത്രീകരിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നതു. യഹൂദ മതനേതൃത്വത്തെ ഭയക്കുന്ന അനുസരണയുള്ള കുഞ്ഞാടുകളാണവര്‍. ഇങ്ങനെയുള്ള അനുസരണയും ചിട്ടയുമുള്ള കുഞ്ഞാടുകളാണ് ഏതു സമൂഹത്തിന്റേയും അഭിമാനം.എനിക്കു അങ്ങനെയുള്ള അനുസരണയാണിഷ്ടം. അവര്‍ ബലഹീനരാണു. സംഘടിത ശക്തിയോടെതിര്‍ക്കുവാന്‍ അവര്‍ക്കു കരുത്തില്ല. ഈയൊരു അത്ഭുതമുപ യോഗിച്ചു ജനസാമാന്യത്തെ വിഭജിച്ചു നേതൃത്വത്തോടെതിര്‍ക്കുവാന്‍ കര്‍ത്താ വിനു ഉദ്ദേശവുമില്ല. “ഇപ്പോള്‍ നീ സംസാരിക്കുന്ന ഞാനാണു കര്‍ത്താവു” എന്നും “നീ ദൈവത്തെ ഇപ്പോള്‍ കണ്ടു കഴിഞ്ഞു” എന്നു സ്വയം സാക്ഷിക്കേണ്ട ഒരു പരിത:സ്ഥിതി കര്‍ത്താവിനു വന്നു ഭവിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു എന്നതു എന്നത്തേയും ദുസ്ഥിതിയാണു . കര്‍ത്താവിനെ സാക്ഷിക്കുവാന്‍ ആളില്ലാതായ അവസ്ഥ.

ഇവന്‍ യാചകനായ യഹൂദനാണു. നിന്‍റെ കൂട്ടത്തില്‍ ഒരുവനും ദരിദ്രനുണ്ടായിരി ക്കരുതു. എന്നതു ന്യായപ്രമാണത്തിലെ അലംഘ്യനിയമങ്ങളിലൊന്നാണു. പൈതൃകസ്വത്തിലെ ഓഹരി, യോബേല്‍ സംവത്സരം, കൃഷി ഭൂമിയിലുള്ള ശാബതു, കാലാപെറുക്കല്‍നിയമം എന്നിങ്ങനെ ദാരിദ്ര്യനിര്‍മ്മാര്‍ജ്ജനത്തിനു വ്യക്തമായ പ്രമാണങ്ങള്‍ പഞ്ചപുസ്തകങ്ങളിലുണ്ട്. എന്നാല്‍ അവ നില നില്‍ക്കുമ്പോള്‍ത്തന്നെ യഹൂദ ഗോത്രങ്ങളില്‍ പെട്ടവര്‍ ദരിദ്രരായി ഭിക്ഷ യാചി ക്കേണ്ട ദുരവസ്ഥ അന്നുണ്ടായിരുന്നു എന്നു വേണം കരുതാന്‍. ഈ വിഷയം വിശദമായ പഠനം ആവശ്യമുള്ളതു കൊണ്ടു തത്ക്കാലം വിടുന്നു. എന്നാല്‍ ആ സംഗതികള്‍ ഒന്നും തന്നെ പാലിക്കാതെ കാണപ്പെടാത്ത ദൈവത്തെ പ്രമാണ പ്രകാരം ആരാധിക്കാനുള്ള വ്യഗ്രത അതിശയനീയമാണു. ഇതു നില നിറുത്താന്‍ ദൈവഭക്തി വേണമെന്നില്ല. സംഘടിത ശക്തിയുടെ കെട്ടുറപ്പു മതി. തനിക്കു ലജ്ജാകരമായ ദാരിദ്ര്യത്തില്‍ നിന്നും തനിക്കു നിത്യ വൃത്തിയ്ക്കുള്ള ആശ്വാസം തരാന്‍ കഴിയാത്ത ഒരു മതവിഭാഗത്തിലെ ആചാരങ്ങളുടെ വിശ്വസ്ഥനായ ഈ അന്ധനാണു ഇന്നത്തെ നമ്മുടെ ചിന്തകള്‍ ഉണര്‍ത്തുന്നതു .

അവന്‍ കര്‍ത്താവിനെ കാണുമ്പോള്‍ കണ്ടതു ദൈവത്തെയാണു. ഇവന്റെ കണ്ണുകള്‍ മൃതമായിരുന്നു. അവന്‍ മനുഷ്യവര്‍ഗ്ഗത്തെ മുഴുവന്‍ പ്രതിനിധാനം ചെയ്യുന്ന പാപലോകത്തിന്റെ പ്രതിനിധിയാണു. ഇവന്‍ ഏദന്‍ തോട്ടത്തിലെ ആദാമാണു. പാപം ചെയ്തതു മുതല്‍ ആദം അനുഭവിച്ച പാപത്തിന്റെ തീഷ്ണത അനുഭവിക്കുന്ന അന്ധനായ ആദാമാണിവന്‍. ഏദനില്‍ ആദാമും ഹവ്വയും അനുഭവിച്ചിരുന്ന ഭാഗ്യം, അവര്‍ക്കു ദിവസേന ദൈവത്തെ മുഖാമുഖം കാണാം എന്നതായിരുന്നു. അവര്‍ക്കു കര്‍ത്താവിനോടു സംസാരിക്കാമായിരുന്നു . എന്നാല്‍ പാപം ചെയ്ത അന്നു സന്ധ്യ മുതല്‍ അവര്‍ക്കു ദൈവമുമ്പാകെ വന്നെത്താന്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞില്ല. കല്പന ലംഘിച്ചാല്‍ അന്നു നീ മരിക്കും എന്നായിരുന്നു ദൈവകല്പന. മരിക്കും എന്നതു എന്താവസ്ഥയാണെന്നറിയാന്‍ ഏദനില്‍ അതിനു മുമ്പു മരണ മുണ്ടായിരുന്നില്ല, ഇലകള്‍ക്കു വാട്ടം ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നില്ല. പഴങ്ങള്‍ പഴുത്തു കൊഴി ഞ്ഞു വീഴുമായിരുന്നില്ല. അമിതമായ ചൂടോ തണുപ്പോ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നില്ല. സുഖകര മായ വസന്തകാലമായിരുന്നു ഏദന്‍തോട്ടത്തിലെ കാലാവസ്ഥ. എന്നാല്‍ മരണം എന്നതു കര്‍ത്താവിനെ മുഖാമുഖം കാണാന്‍ കഴിയാത്ത അവസ്ഥയാണെന്ന റിഞ്ഞതു ദൈവീകവിശുദ്ധി തങ്ങള്‍ക്കു നഷ്ടമായി എന്നതു മുതലും തങ്ങള്‍ നഗ്നരാണെന്ന ബോധത്തോടെയുമാണു. അതില്‍ പിന്നെ ഒരിക്കലും ഒരു മനുഷ്യനും ദൈവത്തെ മുഖാമുഖം കണ്ടിട്ടില്ല. (ഇതു വിശദമാക്കാന്‍ അല്പം കൂടി വിസ്തരിക്കേണ്ടിവരുമെന്നറിയാം. താല്പര്യമുള്ളവര്‍ക്കു വേണ്ടി വീണ്ടും എഴുതിക്കൊള്ളാം.)

ഇവിടെ മനുഷ്യ വര്‍ഗ്ഗത്തിനു നഷ്ടമായതും തന്‍റെ മഹത്വം നേരിട്ടു കാണു വാനുമുള്ള ദൈവീക ഭാഗ്യമാണു, ഈ അന്ധനിലൂടെ കര്‍ത്താവു നല്‍കുന്നതു. നീ ആരെയാണു കാണ്മാന്‍ ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നതു.?. ദൈവത്തെ കാണുവാന്‍ നിനക്കു ആഗ്രഹമുണ്ടോ.?. എന്നീ ചോദ്യങ്ങളാണു, കര്‍ത്താവിന്റെ “നീ ദൈവപുത്രനില്‍ വിശ്വസിക്കുന്നുവോ?” എന്ന ഒറ്റ ചോദ്യം. ഉവ്വു കര്‍ത്താവേ എന്ന ഉത്തരം നമ്മില്‍ നിന്നും കര്‍ത്താവു പ്രതീക്ഷിക്കുന്ന ഉത്തരമാണു. ഒരു ബലി അര്‍പ്പിച്ചാല്‍ ദൈവം പ്രീതിപ്പെട്ടു വീണ്ടും ദൈവത്തെ കാണുവാനുള്ളതും നഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടുപോയതുമായ കൃപ വീണ്ടും നല്‍കും എന്നു ആദാം പ്രതീക്ഷിച്ചിരിക്കാം. തന്‍റെ പുത്രന്‍മാരുടെ യാഗാര്‍പ്പണം ആദാമിനു പ്രതീക്ഷ നല്‍കിയിരുന്നു. എന്നാല്‍ അന്നു മുതല്‍ ഒരിക്കലും മനുഷ്യനു കഴിയാഞ്ഞതും മോശയ്ക്കു പോലും ദൈവം അനുവദി ക്കാഞ്ഞതുമായ കൃപയാണു ഈ അന്ധനു ലഭിച്ചതു. നീ ദൈവപുത്രനില്‍ വിശ്വസിക്കുന്നുവോ എന്ന ചോദ്യത്തില്‍ നീ അവന്‍റെ ദൈവീക മഹത്വത്തില്‍ വിശ്വസിക്കുന്നുവോ നീ അവനെ കാണുവാന്‍ കാംക്ഷിയ്ക്കുന്നുവോ എന്നിങ്ങനെ അര്‍ത്ഥ ഗാംഭീര്യമുള്ള അനേകം ചോദ്യങ്ങളുണ്ട്. ഇതിനൊക്കെയും ഉവ്വ് എന്നുത്തരം നല്‍കാന്‍ നമുക്ക് അനായാസം കഴിയും എന്നാല്‍ അവനെ സാക്ഷിയ്ക്കുവാന്‍ നമുക്ക് കഴിയുന്നുണ്ടോ.

ആ അന്ധനു കാഴ്ച ലഭിച്ചതു കണ്ട ദൃക് സാക്ഷികള്‍ക്ക് പോലും ഇവന്‍ മശിഹാ ആണെന്നും ദൈവ പുത്രനാണെന്നും തന്നെ സാക്ഷിയ്ക്കുവാന്‍ കഴിഞ്ഞില്ല. ഇന്നത്തെ ക്രൈസ്തവസഭയ്ക്ക് ഇതു കഴിയുന്നുണ്ടോ പ്രസംഗങ്ങമുണ്ടോ എന്നല്ല, എന്റെ ആകാംക്ഷ. പ്രസംഗങ്ങളില്‍ കര്‍ത്താവിന്റെ മഹത്വം ഘോഷിക്കുവാന്‍ അവസരം ലഭിച്ചവര്‍ക്ക് അതിനു കഴിയുന്നുണ്ടോ?. വളരെ ദയനീയമായ ഒരു അവസ്ഥയിലാണ് ഇന്നു ക്രൈസ്തവസഭ. പ്രസംഗ യോഗങ്ങളില്‍ കൈ പോക്കുന്നുണ്ട്, എഴുന്നേറ്റുനില്‍ക്കുണ്ട്, മൈക്കുണ്ട്, പാട്ടുണ്ട്. ഹല്ലെലുയ്യാ ഉണ്ട്. പ്രസംഗകന്റെ വിജയങ്ങള്‍ ഗോരഗോരം പ്രസംഗിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. മശിഹായ്ക്ക് ലഭിയ്ക്കേണ്ട മഹത്വം മാത്രമില്ല. കാരണം വളരെ വ്യക്തമാണ് സുവിശേഷകന്മാര്‍ കര്‍ത്താവായ മശിഹായെ കണ്ടിട്ടില്ല. അവരുടെ കണ്ണുകളില്‍ കര്‍ത്താവിന്റെ തുപ്പല്‍ച്ചേറു പുരളാതെ അതിനു കഴിയില്ല ദൈവം അതിനു സന്ദര്‍ഭം നല്‍കട്ടെ . നമുക്ക് കര്‍ത്താവിനെ ക്കാണാം.

The Eyes of the Heart Are Healed to See the True Light

by Ambrosian Rite

1) Light for the eyes of the soul.

In the Gospel of the Samaritan woman (Jn 4, 10.11), Jesus promised also to us the gift of living water . In today's Gospel Jesus Christ, "light of world" heals a" born blind man" (Jn 9, 1-41).

Who is a man born blind? It is a person who does not know the beauty of creation and creatures. It is one who lives without the power or the knowledge to put a face to the people next to him. It is one who lives without seeing the rainbow in the sky, the colors of the fields, the grandeur of the mountains, the sweetness of the fields, the colors of the flowers and of the trees.

This blind man is, above all, one who does not know the joy of being able to look with love in the eyes of a dear one. It is a great sadness to have eyes and not see, relying only on what the ear and touch let perceive, and to be forced to walk the streets with a stick in the hands guessing where the obstacles are.

However, there is a much worse blindness, the one of the man who has no faith, who does not know Jesus, the only Truth that enlightens the world and who gives meaning to the events, room to the intelligence, deep to love, taste to everything that we are and do, including suffering. This man is really blind: what does he know of the Light, or rather with what light does he walk and judge things and facts?

Providentially, Christ heals the eyes of the body and of the soul with the touch of his fingers. This is a fact that makes us remember what happened to us the day of our Baptism when our eyes were caressed and blessed by the priest so that they could be open to the Light that is Christ. This light of Christ is given to us to live as children of light after the healing of the eyes of our heart, that "being ill" were making our soul blind.

Let's imagine the scene, especially when Jesus takes a fist of soil and mixes it with his saliva. He makes mud and smears it on the eyes of the blind man. This gesture alludes to the creation of man, which the Bible recounts with the symbol of the soil shaped and animated by the breath of God (see Gen 2.7). "Adam" means "earthy, kneaded earth" (Adam derives from the Hebrew word adamah which means soil) and the human body is indeed composed by elements of the earth. Healing the man, Jesus brings about a new creation. To give sight, in a sense, is equivalent to give life. Not by chance it is said that when a woman gives birth, she brings a child to light. To come to light is to enjoy the colors of the world, the freedom to move around without fear, to run in and to jump for joy. However, the deeper meaning of this miracle of light is that not only the body's eyes can see, but also those of the soul. Then, we can look into the depths of the mystery of Christ, see his truth and his love and exclaim: "Lord, I believe" (Jn 9, 38), prostrating ourselves before Him in a gesture of worship, as did the man born blind as soon as he was healed. From that moment for this man a journey of faith has begun.

2) Walk in the light.

The Church today proposes to us the journey to which Jesus had invited the healed man.

It is a journey of growth in the knowledge of the Mystery of Christ, and in the experience of Him, who is light and leads us to the fullness of vision, even in the midst of the obstacles and the gray areas of life.

The greatest grace that the blind man – who represent each of us- receives from Christ, is not to see, but to know Him, to see Him as the "light of the world" (Jn 9, 5). The miracle is that Christ makes not only see the sunlight, but also the light of truth.

In the miracle of the blind man, we see that conversion is allowing our eyes to be open to a reality as it really is and not as we see it when we look without the eyes of faith.

Let' s make our own the invitation of St. Bonaventure to a journey of the mind toward God: "Open your eyes, tend your spiritual ear, open your lips and make your heart available so that you may in all creatures see, hear , praise, love, worship, glorify, and honor your God "(Itinerarium mentis in Deum, I, 15).

It is a path that we can accomplish by following the exhortation of Saint Paul " Brothers and sisters: You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." (Eph 5: 8 14 – Second Reading of this Sunday).

It is a journey in which we are called to be witnesses of the light and love that come from faith. "Faith tells us that God has given his Son for our sakes and gives us the victorious certainty that it is really true: God is love! It thus transforms our impatience and our doubts into the sure hope that God holds the world in his hands and that, in spite of all darkness he ultimately triumphs in glory. Faith… gives rise to love. Love is the light—and in the end, the only light—that can always illuminate a world grown dim and give us the courage needed to keep living and working. Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God. "(Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 39).

To experience love, and in this way to let the light of God in the world, I would like to invite each and every one of us to this.

As taught by Pope Francis: "Our lives are sometimes similar to that of the blind man who opened himself to the light, who opened himself to God, who opened himself to his grace. Sometimes unfortunately they are similar to that of the doctors of the law: from the height of our pride we judge others, and even the Lord!… The lengthy account opens with a blind man who begins to see and it closes with the alleged seers who remain blind in soul. In the end the blind man who was healed attains to faith, and this is the greatest grace that Jesus grants him: not only to see, but also to know Him, to see in Him "the light of the world" "(Angelus, March 30, 2014).

3) Virginity for the Light

With his eyes closed but with good reason: the command of Christ, the blind man went to the pool of Siloam to wash his eyes smeared with mud. When the eyes became cloudless, he saw, believed and gave the news. His recovery was bodily and spiritually. For this reason, he saw not only people and things, but the truth of God and man. He saw that God is for man, that God is love that God gives everything, God gives himself, God gives freedom, and that freedom is love and service.

This miracle invites us to ask the Lord to heal the eyes of our soul, then to be converted to Him, to contemplate Him and to follow Him.

The consecrated virgins in the world are an example of this conversion made constant journey through a consecration that implies a complete offer of their lives to Christ. God "continually purifies and renews them to let them appear before him holy and immaculate, adorned as a bride for the wedding. In the mystery of the Church, virgin and mother, by thy Holy Spirit, you inspire the variety of gifts and charisms for the building of your kingdom. You speak, O Father, to the heart of your daughters and draw them with bonds of love so that, waiting ardent and vigilant, they may fill their lamps and go out to meet Christ, King of glory "(Preface of the Mass of the rite of consecration of Virgin).

Jesus, The Light of the World

by Sherri Gragg

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
- Isaiah 60:1-3

Before you begin, read John 8:12-20 and John 9:1-41

The multitude of worshippers filled the temple courts on the first night of the Feast of Tabernacles. The oil lamps in their niches did little to banish the darkness in so vast a space. Men, women, and children jostled against one another as the priests took their positions for the final ceremony, the Joy of the Feast.

Earlier in the evening, young men of priestly descent had climbed ladders to reach the top of the four enormous candelabras in the Court of Women. Each attendant had carried a large pitcher of oil that he carefully used to fill the golden bowls at the top of the structures.

Now the priests began singing hymns, and a hush fell over the crowd as the attendants once again began ascending the ladders to the top of the candelabras, this time with torches in their hands. Every eye was trained upward in the darkness, and as the people waited for the light, they remembered the significance of the ceremony.

Light represented both the pillar of fire that had led their fathers in the wilderness as well as God's shekhinah glory.

The rabbis taught that God wrapped Himself in light as a garment that could not shine by day lest it dim the sun. His divine light was that from which the sun, moon, and stars had been kindled, and it was now reserved under the throne of God for Messiah when He came.

The light was representative of Messiah Himself too. He was the "great light" shining in the darkness (Isaiah 9:2) that God had promised to one day kindle for His people Israel.

When the attendants reached the top of their ladders, a holy silence fell over the crowd. Then slowly, in unison, these young men lowered their torches to the golden bowls. A roar of flame and wave of heat swept over the people as the temple courts were flooded with brilliant light. The people raised their voices in both gratitude for God's past deliverance and joyful expectation of the coming Messiah.

A few days later, Jesus of Nazareth stood in the temple courts and raised His voice:

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
- John 8:12

No one missed the significance of Jesus' statement, especially the temple leaders. Their distaste for the Prophet from Nazareth was developing into a murderous hatred.

The next Sabbath, as Jesus and His disciples were going to the temple, they walked past the many beggars waiting near the gates. On any other day, the unfortunate souls would cry out for alms, but it was against the law to beg on the Sabbath. One man, blind from birth, maintained his place on his mat in hopes that his mere presence might stir compassion in the heart of a few worshippers, and discreet gifts would follow. He sat cross-legged with his eyes closed and head down. One hand rested on his knee, and the other grasped a long stick he used to guide himself through Jerusalem's streets.

As they neared the man, the disciples saw a familiar expression of compassion on Jesus' face.

'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' they asked.
- John 9:2

The disciples had been taught all their lives that physical deformities were God's punishment for sin. But what about a man who had been born blind? Who had sinned then? Was the man's father or mother to blame, or did he somehow sin while in the womb?

Jesus stopped in front of the beggar and knelt down before him. He reached out and placed a gentle hand on his shoulder.

'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.'
- John 9:3-5

Jesus was redefining all that His disciples thought they understood about suffering and the nature of their fallen world. Jesus was explaining to them that creation was broken by sin and that suffering would inevitably follow as a result.

Jesus was also holding out a new hope to them: having come as a light into the darkness, He had the power to redeem suffering for the glory of God. It was a promise true not only for the blind beggar, but for all who are wounded by the fall.

By this time, Jesus had the blind man's rapt attention. Jesus spat on the ground and began to knead the dirt between His fingers to make a small bit of mud. The disciples had seen spittle used for eye maladies many times. Although no one expected it to cure blindness, it was a common treatment. Jesus' actions would not have been considered terribly remarkable on any other day, but this was the Sabbath. The Jews' oral tradition forbade the application of any treatment of an illness on the Sabbath unless internal organs were threatened, but even then treatment was allowed only under the direst circumstances. And while it was acceptable to apply wine to the eyelid because wine qualified as a cleanser, applying it to the inside of the eye was unlawful. The application of saliva on the Sabbath was, in fact, expressly forbidden.

Jesus took the mud and put it on the man's eyes.

'Go,' He told him, 'wash in the Pool of Siloam.'
- John 9:7

Then Jesus and His disciples proceeded into the temple.

The blind man's pulse was racing. He had heard about this prophet from Nazareth and the mighty works He had done. Could he dare hope that when He washed the mud from his eyes, he would be healed? He stood to his feet and held his walking stick out in front of him, tapping it from side to side to feel for obstacles in his way. He knew the streets of Jerusalem well and had been to the Pool of Siloam many times. It was a very popular place.

A short time later he heard splashing and the voices of the other people at the pool. The blind man carefully walked up the short flight of stairs at the entrance of the pool and then stretched his stick in front of him to find a clear path to the water. After a few steps he felt his stick slip from the solid surface of the stone-paved platform to the water below. He had arrived. Trembling, he knelt on the stone and laid his walking stick to the side. Then he felt his way down the steps which framed the interior edge of the pool to ease into the water. He dipped his hands beneath the cool surface of Siloam, splashed the water over his eyes, and rubbed away the mud.

Brilliant, piercing light flooded his senses as his own hands came into focus. Next, he saw the sunlight dancing across the surface of the pool. He laughed and turned to see blues, purples, browns, and reds in the robes of the people around him. The verdant green of palm trees above his head swayed in the breeze, and beyond them stretched an endless blue sky.

Laughing again, he stood to his feet and shouted for all to hear. "I can see! I can see! I can see!"

His walk home was awash in countless awe-inspiring images, but the wonder he felt was equaled by that of his neighbors upon seeing him for the first time after his healing. They had known him, defined him by his blindness, all of his life. Some of them struggled to believe the miracle standing before them.

"Isn't this the same man who used to sit and beg?" some of them asked.
- John 9:8

"No," others said, "he only looks like him." But he himself insisted, "I am the man." "How then were your eyes opened?" they asked. He replied, "The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see." "Where is this man?" they asked him. "I don't know," he said.
- John 9:8-12

Ultimately, it was decided that an occurrence so astonishing should be brought before the Pharisees for investigation, so the crowd took the once-blind man to meet with them.

When the Pharisees repeated the same questions his neighbors had asked, the man patiently repeated his answers. Surely, the leaders of Israel would be in awe of such a miracle and rejoice that God was moving so powerfully in Jerusalem. But that was hardly their reaction. They couldn't get past the fact that Jesus had broken the Sabbath when He healed the man. It was impossible for them to conceive that Jesus could be from God if He did not keep the Sabbath according to their guidelines.

Searching for an answer to their quandary, they found a possible solution. Perhaps the man was lying about being born blind. The Pharisees decided to call his parents in for questioning and expose his deceit. But his parents were afraid to be drawn into the discussion. They did not want to risk angering the Pharisees. They confirmed that the man was their son and that he had been born blind. All other questions would need to be answered by the man himself. They would have no part of it.

The tension in the room was building. The man knew what had happened to him and could not deny it. The Pharisees could not accept his account because it conflicted with their own misconceptions about God.

"Give glory to God by telling the truth," they said. "We know this man [Jesus] is a sinner." The man responded in frustration. "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!" Then they asked him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?" he asked.
- John 9:24-27

This response was more than the Pharisees could take. They were furious.

"You are this fellow's disciple!" they accused him. "We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don't even know where he comes from." The man laughed softly before responding. "Now that is remarkable! You don't know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes"
- John 9:28-30

He paused for a moment before making his argument. "We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing" - John 9:31-33

The leader of the Pharisees sneered at him. "You were blind from birth and you, who were marked as a sinner from the womb, dare to lecture us! You aren't worth any more of our time. Get out!" The man sat outside the synagogue unsure what to do next. He knew he had told the truth. He also knew he could not possibly deny the One who had given him his sight. A short time later a Man approached him and sat down beside him. When He spoke, His voice was familiar.

"Do you believe in the Son of Man?" Jesus asked him.
- John 9:35

The man turned to Him. "Who is he, sir?" he asked Jesus with all the conviction in his heart. "Tell me who he is so that I can believe in him!"

Then Jesus honored his courageous faith and loyalty by offering the man who had been cast out of the synagogue a new home for his heart.

"You have now seen Him; in fact, He is the one speaking with you."
- John 9:37

"Lord, I believe," the man said as he knelt before Jesus to worship Him.

Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." Some Pharisees who were standing nearby overheard Him. They laughed mockingly. "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains."
- John 9:39-41


Light of the World, Your broken creation, marred by the fall, is full of trouble. Someday You will come and make all things new, but until that day there will be times when the road before me is marked with pain and suffering, accusations and judgment. What joy it brings my soul to know that my suffering need not be in vain because of Your cross. If I am willing to surrender my hurt to Your healing touch, You will bring it for the glory of God. There could be no sweeter promise for me, Your child. I love You, Light of the World. Forever shine in me. Amen.

Excerpted with permission from 'Arms Open Wide' by Sherri Gragg, copyright Thomas Nelson, 2014.

About Sherri Gragg

Sherri Gragg is the author of 'Arms Open Wide: A Call to Linger in the Savior's Presence' (Thomas Nelson, 2014) and a nationally published writer who was a winner in the 2012 Writer's Digest Competition. She discovered the beautiful Jewish roots of her Christian faith during the course of a trip to Israel, and now passionately uses her gifts of writing and teaching to share the gospel of Christ through the Middle Eastern cultural lens.

Source: Faith Gateway

Poem: The Light of God
I wandered so aimless, life filled with sin
I wouldn't let my dear Saviour in

Then Jesus came like a stranger in the night
Praise The Lord, I saw the light

For with thee is the fountain of life:
In thy light shall we see light.
Psalm 36:9

Source: Jesus is


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