PATHS TO FAITH
The story is unforgettable. It’s traditionally called the «healing of the man born blind», but it is much more, since the Gospel writer describes for us the inner journey that a man lost in darkness goes about making until he meets up with Jesus, «Light of the world».
We don’t know his name. We only know that he’s a beggar, blind from birth, who asks for alms outside of the Temple. He doesn’t know light. He has never seen it. He can’t walk or find his bearings by himself. His life has unfolded in darkness. He could never know a dignified life.
One day Jesus passes through his life. The blindman is so much in need that he lets him work on his eyes. He doesn’t know who it is, but he trusts in his healing power. Following his directions, he cleanses his vision in the pool of Siloam and for the first time, begins to see. The encounter with Jesus is going to change his life.
The neighbors see him changed. He’s the same, but appears different to them. The man explains his experience to them: «A man who they call Jesus» has healed him. He doesn’t know anything more. He doesn’t know who he is and where he is, but he has opened his eyes. Jesus does good even to those who only know him as a man.
The Pharisees, learned in religion, ask him for all kinds of explanations about Jesus. He speaks to them of his experience: «I only know one thing: that I was blind and now I see». They ask him what he thinks of Jesus, and he tells them what he feels: «That he is a prophet». What he has received from him is so good that that man has to have come from God. That’s how many simple people live their faith in Jesus. They don’t know theology, but they feel that that man comes from God.
Little by little, the beggar ends up alone. His parents don’t defend him. The religious leaders throw him out of the synagogue. But Jesus doesn’t abandon the one he loves and he looks for him. «When he heard that they had expelled him, he went to seek him». Jesus has his paths to meet up with those who seek him. No one can get in his way.
When Jesus meets up with that man whom no one seems to understand, he only has one question: «Do you believe in the Son of man?». Do you believe in the new Man, the Man who is fully human precisely for being the incarnation of the unfathomable mystery of God? The beggar is ready to believe, but he finds himself more blind than ever: «And who is he, Sir, so that I may believe in him?».
Jesus tells him: «You are looking at him: the one who is speaking to you, that’s him». For the blind man the eyes of his soul are now being opened. He bows before Jesus and tells him: «I believe, Lord». Just listening to Jesus and letting ourselves be led interiorly by him, we’ll go walking toward a more full and also a more humble faith.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf