GOSPEL. ST. JOHN ix, 1-38.
(The Man Born Blind. The Women of Jerusalem.)
At that time: Jesus passing by, saw a man who was blind from his birth: and His disciples asked Him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must do the works of Him that sent Me, whilst it is day: the night cometh when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When He had said these things, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay upon his eyes, and said to him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloe, which is interpreted, Sent. He went therefore, and washed, and he came seeing. The neighbors therefore, and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar, said: Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said: This is he. But others said: No, but he is like him. But he said: I am he. They said therefore to him: How were thy eyes opened? He answered: That man that is called Jesus, made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me: Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash. And I went, I washed, and I see. And they said to him: Where is He? He saith, I know not. They bring him that had been blind to the Pharisees. Now it was the sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Again therefore the Pharisees asked him how he had received his sight. But he said to them: He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see. Some therefore of the Pharisees said: This man is not of God, Who keepeth not the sabbath. But others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say therefore to the blind man again: What sayest thou of him that hath opened thy eyes? And he said: He is a prophet. The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight, and asked them, saying: Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see? His parents answered them, and said: We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not; ask himself; he is of age, let him speak for himself. These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess Him to be Christ he should be put out of the Synagogue. Therefore did his parents say: He is of age, ask him. They therefore asked the man again that had been blind, and said to him: Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner. He said there fore to them: If He be a sinner, I know not: One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see. They said then to him: What did He do to thee? How did He open thy eyes? He answered them: I have told you already, and you have heard: why would you hear it again? will you also be come His disciples? They reviled him therefore, and said: Be thou His disciple; but we are the disciples of Moses. We know that God spoke to Moses but as to this man, we know not from whence He is. The man answered, and said to them: Why herein is a wonderful thing that you know not from whence He is, and He hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God, and doth His will, him He heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind. Unless this man were of God He could not do anything. They answered and said to him: Thou wast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out: and when He had found him, He said to Him: Dost thou believe in the Son of God? He answered and said: Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him? And Jesus said to him: Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee. And he said: I believe, O Lord. And fall ing down he adored Him.
Behold, O Christian soul, Jesus spreads clay upon the eyes of this man born blind to teach you how worthless and corrupt is your nature, and that the transitory things of this world, which you love so much, are only dust and ashes. Further He commanded the blind man to wash himself in the pool of Siloe. The holy Church likewise com mands you to cleanse your soul by making a good confession and by the practice of virtue; and after receiving your Easter Communion, she expects you to adhere more closely to your Savior. Otherwise you might fall into the deplorable condition in which, like the obstinate Jews described in this gospel, you neither could nor would any longer believe.
In the course of His bitter passion, "there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women who bewailed and lamented Him. And Jesus, turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children." Why? In order to prepare themselves for the fearful judgment which was to be inflicted upon Jerusalem, and to endeavor by penance and contrition to render the punishment salutary for themselves and their children. You, too, O Christian soul, should be mindful of the judgment of God, and live accordingly.
LET US PRAY.
O God, Who granted to the just the reward of their merits, and to sinners pardon, by means of fasting, have mercy on us suppliants, that the confession of our guilt may enable us to receive the forgiveness of our sins.