From the opening prologue of the gospel of John, the evangelist introduces the theme of light and darkness. The Word of God becomes flesh and makes the life of God visible to us all through his human life and appearance. This life of God that has become visible in Jesus the Christ, the Word made flesh, is a light that shines in the darkness of the world. The light shines into the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. Jesus the Christ is the light of the world and his light can penetrate and dispel the darkness of sin and even death itself. The light that shines in Jesus is the very life of God, a life that God the Father desires to share with all of his children. He desires that we all become children of the light and live in the light of His love for us. As Paul reminds us, if we are children of the light then we must live in the light and allow the light to shine in our lives through deeds of light. We cannot profess to be followers of Jesus and children of God and continue at the same time to live in darkness. We cannot practice deeds of darkness and spread darkness around ourselves by our actions and attitudes. We must desire to live in the light and bring everything that we are and do to the light. There should be nothing hidden or shameful in our lives. We should not be keeping any deep, dark secrets. We should not be walking around in a perpetual bad mood. To live in the light means to act in a way that is consistent with light and to carry an attitude of joy and peace throughout the world.
In his gospel John further develops this truth that Jesus is the light of the world. With the light of Christ in our lives, we who once were blind can now see. The Christian journey is a journey into the light;the full light of the truth; the full light of knowledge of Jesus the Christ; the full light of the love of God manifest in Jesus. As we continue the journey of faith, with Jesus as our companion and guide leading us deeper and deeper into the truth, we begin to see, and therefore believe, things that we had never seen before. Our journey arrives at its destination when we see the full glory of God the Father revealed in Jesus and are moved to prostrate ourselves in worship before him.
Jesus encounters the man born blind and his disciples ask him whose sin it was that caused him to be blind. Was it his own personal sin or was it the sins of his parents? We ask the same questions today when a young person becomes blind to the life of faith and leaves the Church. Is it the fault of his parents who failed to pass on the faith to him or is he responsible for his own decision. Jesus doesn’t want to play the blame game, rather, he declares that this person’s condition is “so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” (Jn 9,2) In some way it is most often presumed that it is the fault of God who did not sufficiently reveal his presence to the person. God’s work is the work of love and healing. Clearly throughout the scripture we see that time and time again God does not will suffering, loss or death. His will is for salvation and is manifested in acts of love, kindness, compassion and mercy. Jesus redirects the disciples to see that this situation is an opportunity for God to manifest his glory. In a sense I think that Jesus is entreating us to break out of a very human weakness in which we curse the darkness but do nothing about it. Don’t curse the darkness, just turn on the light, walk in the light and bring light to others.
We are all persons born blind because of original sin. Through the waters of baptism we can be washed clean of original sin and be born anew in the light of life. In making clay from his spittle and some earth, Jesus is taking us back to creation and creating new eyes to see in his light. This new vision is a vision of faith. We have no need to curse the darkness or to allow others to draw us back into the darkness through their doubt. We are children of the light, we can see through the eyes of faith what is true and we can profess the truth that Jesus is Lord. Don’t listen to the naysayers in life who fabricate explanations to explain away any marvel or joy we might experience and who want us to join them in their doubt, unbelief and therefore blindness. We have reason for joy. We see, we know, we believe.