Homily – the man born blind

The Man Born Blind
It doesn’t matter why the man was blind – whether it was due to genetics or his environment or come combination of both: God shows that He is far less interested in the cause than providing the cure. This is how the glory of God is made manifest. This is the remaking of humanity through the God-man Christ.
St. John Chrysostom: [But] when He said, “That the glory of God might be manifested,” He spoke of Himself, not of the Father; His (i.e. the Father’s) glory was already manifest. For since they had heard that God made man, taking the dust of the earth, so also Christ made clay. To have said, “I am He who took the dust of the earth, and made man,” would have seemed a hard thing to His hearers; but this when shown by actual working, no longer stood in their way. So that He by taking earth, and mixing it with spittle, showed forth His hidden glory; for no small glory was it that He should be deemed the Architect of the creation.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (St. John 1: 1,3, 14)
St. John Chrysostom: And after this (i.e. the creation of new eyes from mud) the rest also followed; from the part, the whole was proved, since the belief of the greater also confirmed the less. For man is more honorable than any created thing, and of our members the most honorable is the eye.This is the cause that He fashioned the eyes, not in a common manner, but in the way that He did. For though that member be small in size, yet it is more necessary than any part of the body. And this Paul showed when he said, “If the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?” ( 1 Cor. xii. 16.) For all indeed that is in us is a manifestation of the wisdom of God, but much more the eye; this it is that guides the whole body, this gives beauty to it all, this adorns the countenance, this is the light of all the limbs. What the sun is in the world, that the eye is in the body; quench the sun, and you destroy and confound all things; quench the eyes, and the feet, the hands, the soul, are useless. When these are disabled, even knowledge is gone, since by means of these we know God. “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” ( Rom. i. 20.) Wherefore the eye is not only a light to the body, but beyond the body to the soul also. On which account it is established as in a royal fortress, obtaining the higher condition, and presiding over the other senses. This then Christ forms.
Are we speaking just of the physical eyes here, or something greater? Discernment. Understanding. And the eyes of Christ grant TRUE discernment and TRUE understanding. Compare this to the discernment that the other gods give us. Yes, the false gods give a certain understanding of a certain type …
Mindsets – resistant to change. Confirmation bias. But the process of sanctification is the process of Christ granting us this sight. The person who has been thus sanctified sees old things in a new light and notices things that he could not before.
The symbolism of the Pool of Siloam(effort, faith). Why didn’t Christ work the entire miracle at that moment?
St. John Chrysostom: For it was likely that he would have considered with himself, and have said, “What is this? He made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go, wash;’ could he not have healed me, and then have sent me to Siloam? Often have I washed there with many others, and have gained no good; had he possessed any power, he would while present have healed me.”But the blind man neither disbelieved, nor contradicted, nor reasoned with himself, “What is this? Ought he to have put on clay? This is rather to blind one the more: who ever recovered sight so?” But he used no such reasonings. Seest thou his steadfast faith and zeal?
Synergy. Effort. Sanctification.
Been there many times – why would this time be any different: but it was. This time was new. This time was special. This time he received a genuine epiphany: the ability to see the world through new eyes, the eyes of Christ.
We are blind in so many ways. Through the disciplines of psychology and sociology, we can do a pretty good job explaining the genesis and continuation of our blindness. But the important thing, the one thing we must never forget is that Christ has fashioned the eyes of our hearts so that we can discern the Truth, so that we can see and enjoy the world as it really is. He has performed this miracle within our hearts.
So what comes next? Now we must bathe in the waters of Siloam. We must immerse ourselves in the spiritual waters of daily prayer and liturgical worship. We must cleanse ourselves with the wet tears of repentance. In order for the miracle to be completed within us, we have to wash in the purifying pool of Orthodoxy. Like the blind man, we may be tempted to say;
What is this? He made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go, wash;’ could he not have healed me, and then have sent me to Siloam? Often have I washed there with many others, and have gained no good; had he possessed any power, he would while present have healed me.”
We have been to church many times with others, we have prayed, we have been to confession. What is so special about it now?
Do it with your new eyes and follow the timeless advice of the Apostle Andrew; “Come and see.”