Readings this Sunday:
As the prophet Samuel anointed David with oil, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David and remained with him from that day forward (1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a).
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. (PS 23)
You who were once darkness are now light in the Lord. Live as children of light (Ephesians 5:8-14).
The man who was blind from birth proclaimed: The one called Jesus made clay with his saliva, anointed my eyes with it, and told me to wash. When I washed, I was able to see! (John 9:1-41 [1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38])
This Sunday’s readings have a fascinating play on opposites: Light and darkness; seeing and not seeing; awake and sleep; and death and life.
In the first reading we hear the story of the anointing of David as king of Israel. The prophet Samuel sizes up each of the sons of Jesse, seeing their outward appearances to determine their call to be king. He is told by God not to look at their outward appearances, because “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.”
This seeing is tied also to today’s Gospel in which Jesus heals a man born blind. The Pharisees, so fixed on the point Jesus healed on the Sabbath day, they cannot ‘see’ the miracle before their eyes. They suffer from a sort of ‘spiritual’ blindness, unable to recognize the working of God. The blind man, on the other hand, received much more than his physical sight; he has the gift to see who Jesus is; he has a spiritual sight. This new vision is like an awakening from sleep, as in Ephesians 5:14, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
As baptized Christians, we have been called out of darkness of our spiritual blindness and have the opportunity to embrace the ways of God. As we study and pray for insight, let us pray that the eyes of our hearts may also be open, and like the blind man, receive the gift of spiritual sight.