Readings: 1 Sam 16:1,6-7,10-13; Eph. 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41
Light and darkness, sight and blindness are the main contrasting images in the readings of this Sunday. The central message of this Sunday is that Christ heals our spiritual blindness in our Baptism and makes us bearers of the light. That is the meaning of the second Scrutiny celebrated this Sunday for those preparing for Baptism at Easter. The celebrant prays over the Candidates and anoints them with Holy Oil in a rite of exorcism that symbolically restores their spiritual sight so that they begin to see Jesus, follow him become bearers of the light. The purpose of the second scrutiny is to symbolically restore the spiritual sight of the catechumens, so that they can see Jesus and follow him. For those already Baptized, Christ renews our spiritual vision as it were from 10/10 to 20/20 vision, so that we can begin to see as God sees (cf. 1 Sam 16:7). The three readings help us to see a sharp contrast between light and darkness. In the first reading, Samuel struggles as it were in darkness, trying to find a king, but can only succeed to find the young David when he begins to see as God sees. In the second reading, Paul reminds us that we were once darkness, but now because of our Baptism we are light in the Lord. We are therefore challenged to be bearers of the light.
The story of the man born blind in the Gospel contrasts sharply the vision of the man born blind and the blindness of the Pharisees. The Gospel reminds us that our Baptism enlightens us to see and embrace God’s vision, life, goodness and truth. Our Baptism commits us to be bearers of the light and to confront the spiritual blindness of the world with the light of truth. The passage clearly contrasts light and darkness, faith and the stubborn refusal to accept the truth. In the story, Jesus not only gives the blind man his sight, physical light, but he also gives him the light of faith. The story is about you and me in moments of our own spiritual blindness and darkness. In our selfishness; our inclinations for pleasure; in our greed for material things, we become spiritually blind and lose our spiritual sight. The message we take home is threefold: 1) In baptism, Christ has healed our blindness and given us the light of faith, so that, like the healed blind man, we may proclaim Christ boldly despite the opposition from those still in darkness. 2) Just as the blind man after being healed began to witness to Christ, we too are challenged to become bearers of the light even in times of opposition. 3) Just as in the Gospel story, we must not allow dishonesty and the distortion of the truth to dim our light, because Christ is our Light.
©2016 John S. Mbinda