Gospel Reflection – 4th Sunday of Lent – Cycle A – John 9:1-41

The simple fact is that Jesus healed the blind man. Someone who previously could not see was blessed with the gift of sight. What happens after that in today’s Gospel is a sharp warning against following the letter of the law but forgetting why we are following it in the first place.

It’s true: what Jesus did would have been seen as contentious, and not only by Scribes and Pharisees. The religious laws and actions that the people of that culture followed were incredibly specific. Even now, for some modern-day religions, the punishments for what may seem like very small omissions are punishable by real and lasting violence, not least by being shunned by your own community, let alone physical violence. It was even worse then, though.

So, what Jesus did was extraordinary. He knew this. He understood that the repercussions of healing someone on the Sabboth would have led to hot and dangerous debate in the community. He didn’t back down.

The real blindness that Jesus is trying to heal is that of the Pharisees and Scribes. And this can invite us to question ourselves.

Can our personal understanding of God, of Jesus, make us blind? Can the way that we might bend the Gospel so that we follow it in a more comfortable way undermine our status as Christians? Can we be pleasant to some but unpleasant to others, welcoming to some but dismissive of others? After all, what is a Christian but someone who follows Christ and tries to be his ambassador?

Lent is a wonderful opportunity to realign ourselves with Christ. How are we going to do this today?


The Lord be with you.                                    And with your spirit
A reading from the Gospel according to John
Glory to you, O Lord
As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. He spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man. and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam (a name that means ‘sent’). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.
His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one’. Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him’. The man himself said, ‘I am the man’.
They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man’s eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, ‘He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see’. Then some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the sabbath’. Others said, ‘How could a sinner produce signs like this?’ And there was disagreement among them. So they spoke to the blind man again, ‘What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?’ ‘He is a prophet’ replied the man.
‘Are you trying to teach us,’ they replied ‘and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!’ And they drove him away.
Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied ‘tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.’
Jesus said, ‘You are looking at him; he is speaking to you‘. The man said, ‘Lord, I believe’, and worshipped him.
Jesus said: ‘It is for judgement that I have come into this world, so that those without sight may see  and those with sight turn blind’.
Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him, ‘We are not blind, surely?’
Jesus replied: ‘Blind? If you were, you would not be guilty,  but since you say, “We see”,  your guilt remains.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord, Jesus Christ.