It is one of the most curious episodes in the Gospel. In the Gospel of John 9, the disciples question Our Lord about a poor beggar who had been blind since birth. They ask why the man is blind; is it because of his sin or the sin of his parents? Our Lord replies that “neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”
Jesus then “spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes.” He then tells the man to go and wash in a pool and return to Him. Upon doing so the man is cured.
This mysterious passage raises many questions, but the immediate one is why would Our Lord choose to use His own spit and mud to heal a man? Why not just say “you are healed”? What are the symbolism and lesson?
Historically, St. Thomas Aquinas noted that this verse provided an example of Jesus’ healing of sin. He cites St. Augustine for the interpretation that the blind man represents the human race. Sin is the spiritual blindness. When Jesus heals the blind man and allows him to see the light, he literally sees, which can be taken as a sign that he sees the error of his ways and wants to correct them by following the ways of God.
Saint Irenaeus suggests that Jesus Christ is making a New Creation. In the creation story in Genesis, God first makes Adam out of the dust. Jesus, by using His own Holy Saliva and mixing it with clay, is making a New Creation in which sins are healed and we are forgiven. Also, as in the Sacraments, Jesus uses ordinary earthly materials and makes them Holy and something more to heal us.
Our Lord healed the blind man with simple elements to be a sign for all to see that He is “the Light of the World”.
Just as our Lord used simple elements to heal a blind person to reveal His glory, you can use tools like your cell phone to help bring healing to the blind to proclaim His glory.
In southern India, The Brothers of the Sacred Heart operate the Amalarakkini School for the Blind. The Amalarakkini School provides a home and special education to 100 blind children. Both boys and girls from rural areas receive training in various vocational skills necessary to support themselves as adults.
Many parents in developing countries cannot afford to send their children to school. Blind children are denied the education they need because communities often believe they are incapable of learning. But you can help…
To provide a tool to help educate these blind children, and other needy children like them, The Pontifical Mission Societies have created MISSIO, a new and innovative Catholic crowd-funding platform that allows you to directly help provide aid for the poorest of areas.
MISSIO allows you to search through vital charity projects – ones providing for basic needs, education, safety, and others extending the Good News of the Gospel to remote areas.
Launched by Pope Francis himself, the MISSIO platform offers a direct connection to change-makers who work on the “front lines” making a difference for the poor and marginalized through direct, daily service.
Choose one of these missions of Pope Francis, and donate directly to them, knowing that 100% of your donation will go directly there. Share them on social media so others can support the projects also.
MISSIO is powered by The Pontifical Mission Societies, the Catholic Church’s official support organization for overseas missions since 1822, providing for a global network of people who are making a difference for communities in need around the globe.
Check out MISSIO today and start giving!