My Beloved the benevolent April 2021
Grace and peace wishing you every goodness and blessing; wishing you a blessed Lent period and Holy Passion week that leads us to the celebration of the glorious Feast of the Resurrection on May 2nd.
This year, April 18th is the Sunday of Baptism which is the sixth Sunday of Great Lent. The reading of that Sunday includes the Gospel reading about the miracle of the healing of the man born blind.
- This miracle depicts the divinity of Christ our Lord in His ability to create. He created eyes for the man born blind because he was born without eyes. Thus, the disciples were astonished, and they asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jn. 9:2. The Lord Jesus healed the man born blind in a way similar to how God created man. The book of Genesis describes God’s creation of man, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Gen.2:7. The man born blind described how Christ healed him by saying, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash,’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” Jn. 9:11.
- This miracle did not only grant physical sight to the man born blind, but also enlightenment and spiritual insight, which led him to believe in Him. Jesus met and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of God? He answered and said, ‘Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have both seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.’ Then he said, ‘Lord, I believe!’ and he worshipped Him.” Jn 9:35-38.
- Thus, the Church linked this miracle to baptism. In baptism, we receive the new nature and enlightenment, as the man born blind received new eyes and spiritual enlightenment. In baptism, we pray over the water and receive the power of the new birth. Likewise, in the miracle, the power of Christ’s words telling the blind man to go to the pool of Siloam, gave the water of the pool the power to create two new eyes for him.
- At the conclusion of the miracle, Christ warned of the danger of spiritual blindness. A person who is physically blind has no sin and suffers physically; his suffering is temporary; it ends with the end of his life on earth. As for the spiritually blind, he suffers on earth and the afterlife as he falls under judgement because he does not see the truth, but walks in darkness; therefore, Christ said, “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 also?” 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.
- We notice in this miracle that the mud was a means to heal the man born blind, as the Lord Jesus anointed his eyes with mud. It is known that when mud is placed on the eyes of a healthy person, the eyes can get disease and it may cause blindness. How did the mud transform from a means of disease to a means of healing! It is the hand of Christ, the compassionate and powerful, “out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet.” Death became punishment to man who sinned and disobeyed the commandments of God; death entered human nature and became a source of fear to all humans. When the Son of God was incarnated, crucified, died and resurrected, He turned death to a desire and broke the curse of death; the Christian was no longer fearful of death but overcame death with power and courage. St. Paul the Apostle said, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 1 Cor. 15:55. Likewise, tribulations and pain, when we look at them through Christ, we can see them as a means of benefit and spiritual growth; but when we look at God through the tribulation, the tribulation obscures God from us, so we don’t see God, but only see the tribulation, so we get tired and feel despair. St. Paul suffered from a thorn in the flesh of his body and pleaded to God three times that it might depart from him; God revealed to him that it was for his benefit and said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:8-9. St. Paul accepted the suffering and said, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor.12:10.
- We notice also in this miracle the importance of positive action. When the disciples saw the blind man who was in a state of great misery, what did they do?They asked Him “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jn 9:2, it is a question that raises many questions. How does man sin before he is born? Does a person inherit the sin of his parents? Is every disease caused by sin? But, how does the man born blind benefit from these questions? Will the answers change the situation he suffers from? Absolutely not. Thus, Jesus our Lord teaches us to be concerned with practical answers that help resolve the problem of the needy and suffering man. He answered the disciples’ question, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.” Jn.9:3. Then the man born blind was healed. (Jn.9:6-9) St. James tells us, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17. Preoccupation with negatives, side matters, and false philosophical discussions hinder man from positive action and good deeds.
- The healing of the man born blind is a great miracle that granted healing to a man who suffered since birth, and without a doubt it was a reason to rejoice for every human who loves good things for others. But we find that the Pharisees were not happy with the miracle and tried to deny its occurrence; when the blind man confirmed what had happened to him, they considered that the Lord Jesus committed a sin, as He broke the commandment of the Sabbath. “Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath. “Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” and there was a division among them.” Jn 9:16. The main problem of the Pharisees resides in the incorrect understanding of the commandment of the Sabbath; the word Sabbath means rest; good deeds and the healing of a suffering person on the Sabbath does not break the Sabbath commandment but rather is an implementation of it. Therefore, when Christ saw a man with a withered hand and the Pharisees were anxious to see what He will do, “He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.” Mk. 3:4. He also said, “Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Matt. 12:12 And then He said the famous verse, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mk. 2:27.
We pray that God grant us the spiritual insight and enlightenment so that we may be like our good Lord in striving to do good and help every person in need and who is suffering. May the Lord bless your offerings to support Santa Verena Charity programs which open many opportunities for positive action and doing good deeds and helping the needy and suffering.