(John 9: 1-38)
Today’s Gospel describes an unprecedented miracle of the Lord; the healing of a beggar born blind. Of course, people have been cured of various disabilities and illnesses, but a person born blind? Such a thing had never been seen before!
The sad thing here is that, while a wonderful event such as this should be enjoyed, it created problems for the Jewish leaders. As we know, jealousy and envy stood in the hearts of the Pharisees. Crowds of people followed Christ, and not them. Indeed, the members of the Jewish ruling council had decided not only to kill Christ, but also to ban from the Synagogue and the community any Jew who professes belief in Jesus as the Messiah (22).
So when the Pharisees learned that Jesus did such a great miracle, at first they tried to discredit it. It would be good for them if they could prove that the man had not been born blind, but merely pretended to be blind and a beggar, to earn the sympathy of the people and mercy. This is why the Pharisees called the parents of the Blind man in and asked them: “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see? The parents were afraid of being driven out of the Synagogue and replied: “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind. But by what means he now sees, we do not know, or who opened his eyes we do not know. He is of age; ask him.” We see the parents avoiding a clear answer to the miracle of Christ. They are afraid and tremble as the Pharisees speak to them with anger and a threatening tone to intimidate them. Terrified, and to keep from being cut off, they save themselves and leave their son alone to face this hostile tribunal.
This story has been repeated many times in the course of Church history. The same truth applies today, as there is a great war against Christ and our Church. It is insidious, and uses slander, accusations and indirect threats. This makes people afraid, to where they dare not speak truthfully about matters of faith. They want to be comfortable in their seats before authority, and not have their careers jeopardized. They want to be well with everyone. In so doing, they violate their conscience and betray Christ. Let us look closely at the words of the Lord on this subject: “Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33) on the day of Judgement.
The behavior of the formerly blind beggar was totally different from his parents. In his repeated conversations with the Pharisees, who wanted to present Jesus as a violator of Mosaic Law because he healed on the Sabbath day, he remained steadfast in his beliefs. He bravely faced the inquisition of the Pharisees, speaking directly to their angry questioning: What you say I do not know, he tells them. “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see” (verse 25). And as to your accusations against the person who cured me, I have this to say: “Now we know that God does not hear sinners….Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind.” (verses 31-32). The Pharisees could not endure his boldness, and with rage they insult him and cast him out.
But after this, the Lord found the man who was blind and illuminated the eyes of his soul by directly revealing the truth of Himself. With grace the man wholeheartedly confessed his faith in the divine Person, and worshipped Him as the Son of God.
My brothers and sisters, let us also learn from the courageous confession of the formerly blind man. With courage, enthusiasm, blessing and gratitude, confessing the Orthodox Faith which millions of witnesses have sacrificed for. Christ will bless us. He will have us as His beloved children, and will make us citizens of His Kingdom.