Jesus and the man born blind, from darkness to light towards a path of conversion

Father Gabriele

Homiletics of the Fathers of The Island of Patmos


The man born blind told him: "I believe, man!». And he bowed himself before. Then Jesus said: “I came into this world to judge, because those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind ".


Gabriele Giordano M. Scardocci, o.p.


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Dear Readers of The Island of Patmos,

some Renaissance paintings arose from coloring that darkened black to produce different shades of white and yellow. It is the transition from darkness to light. This also happens in our life and the Today's Gospel it leads us to reflect on sin and our conversion.


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The first narrative moment focuses on sin. Following the Jewish tradition of classical retribution, the disciples, seeing the man born blind, they ask what is the cause of the blindness. For the classical theory of retribution, the handicap comes from a previous sin, committed by the same person or by the parents. But Jesus breaks and contradicts this theory:

« Jesus replied: “Neither he sinned nor his parents, but it is so that the works of God may be manifested in him. We must do the works of him who sent me while it is day; then comes the night, when no one can operate anymore. As long as I'm in the world, I am the light of the world”».

A man born blind is like this for the works of God to be manifested. And so, in a sense, sign and manifestation that God is among men and acts. So, a person, in itself it is not a sin, but commits sins. Now the sin, according to the classic definition, it is «a word, an act or desire contrary to the eternal Law".

Lent time it is also a propitious time for the rediscovery of the concept and of the very idea of ​​sin, which is something we hardly attribute to ourselves. More easily we say that we have made a mistake, nonsense, a human error. Let's try to reflect on this in a strong review time of our life, such should be this Lenten season. We are all sinners children of God and we thank the Lord who loves us as we are. With the Sacrament of Confession we cleanse our sins and return all with the grace with which we set to work with God. This is why Jesus tells us that this blind man was born this way, without having committed a real sin that led him to blindness; it is so that the works of God are manifested in him. Jesus then invites you to do the works of the one who sends him, that is, the Eternal Father. First of all, we will say that the man born blind is the one who physically passes from darkness to light. Symbolically, the blind man, he is the one who passes from spiritual blindness to faith. This happens precisely through Jesus. Jesus invites and transmits to those who listen - plausibly disciples and apostles - the invitation to carry out the works of light with Him and with the Father. Send all of us to be candles that burn fire of truth from his flame and light. What happens after the miraculous healing is a complex number of actions, of interrogations and questions. Questions that the Pharisees ask themselves and that they ask the blind, to his parents, because nothing convinces them, not accepting that someone recognizes Jesus as the source of truth and light. In the cold darkness of rigid convictions, of idols and ideal shadows of the truth of Christ. For this they chase away the now ex-blind who has miraculously regained his sight. They don't want to see who can question them, because in truth, the real blind, are they.

The man born blind told him: "I believe, man!». And he bowed himself before. Then Jesus said: “I came into this world to judge, because those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind ".

Jesus goes to meet the healed blind man again. The Pharisees, even though they had kicked him out, the dialogue between the two follows. The healed blind man makes his profession of faith: "Yes Lord, I believe in you". And so he prostrates himself, according to the traditional Jewish gesture: prostration to show the presence of God, as did the High Priest in the Sancta Sanctorum of the Temple of Jerusalem. Jesus then tells him:

“I have come to judge, so that those who see do not see and those who see go blind".

In this way he also reproaches the Pharisees, circumventing their trap. But the strong phrase of Jesus, on the judgment is also important for us. In fact, Jesus comes to judge not in the sense of condemning people and sinners, but so that its light is not only a revelation of faith in God. Also because under his loving and wise judgment, may each of us come to open up a glimpse of truth even about ourselves, returning to recognize all the shining gifts that God has given him.

We ask the Lord the grace to perform an act of humility and recognize ourselves as sinners, to rediscover at the same time that we are masterpieces-gifts, with talents and peculiarities that we can offer to Him, to our neighbor and to the Church in an act of love.


Santa Maria Novella in Florence, 19 March 2023



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