THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF PASCHA: THE MAN BORN BLIND

My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and SaviorJESUS CHRIST.

CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!

On this day, the Sixth Sunday of Pascha,
our Holy Church commemorates the Miracle
of Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ
upon the MAN BORN BLIND.

On this day we celebrate the miracle of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which wonder, as the previous week the Samaritaness, was brought about through the use of water. During today’s Epistle Reading, the Lord “passed by” and “He saw a man who was blind from birth [John 9:1]. He possessed only the sockets but no eyeballs. The Disciples inquire, “Rabbi, who sinned, this one or his parents, that he should be born blind [John 9:2]. Christ said,
“Neither this one sinned nor his parents, but in order that the work of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3). By this Christ shows that it is foolish to suppose the soul of man to be guilty of sins previous to its birth in the body. Moreover, when He openly says that neither had His parents sinned that their son should be born blind, He refutes the silly suspicion of the Jews. Therefore, after He had taught His Disciples as much as was necessary for them to know in the order to refute the doctrines which we have stated, and imparted to them as much as it was fitting to exhibit to the understanding of man. He is silent as to the rest. He sets forth no further disclosure with clearness the reason why the fellow who was born blind was guilty of no sin previous to birth. He attributed to the Divine nature, alone, the knowledge of all such things and a management of affairs that is past finding out. But, again, He very skillfully transfers the language of His answer to something else and says that the works of God should be made manifest in him (that is, the blind man).

Saint Irenaeus, showing that Christ is God Who CREATED US, counsels: “For this reason did the Lord most plainly manifest Himself and the Father to His Disciples, lest, forsooth, they might seek after another God besides Him Who formed man, and Who gave him the breath of life; and that men might not rise to such a pitch of madness as to feign another Father above the Creator. Thus, also, He healed by a word all the others who were in a weakly condition because of sin; to whom also He said, ‘Behold, thou hast become well; no longer go on sinning, lest a worse thing should befall thee’ (John 5:14). Jesus pointed out by this, that, BECAUSE OF THE SIN OF DISOBEDIENCE, INFIRMITIES HAVE COME UPON MEN. To that man, however, who had been blind from his birth, He gave sight, not by means of a word, but by an outward action. He did not do this without a purpose, or because it just happened, BUT THAT HE MIGHT SHOW FORTH THE HAND OF GOD, THAT WHICH AT THE BEGINNING HAD MOULDED MAN. Therefore, when His Disciples asked Him for that cause the man had been born blind, whether for his own sin or his parents’ fault, He replied, ‘Neither this one sinned nor his parents, but IN ORDER THAT THE WORKS OF GOD SHOULD BE MADE MANIFEST IN HIM (John 9:3). Now the work of God is the FASHIONING OF MAN. For, as the Scripture says, He MADE MAN BY A KIND FO PROCESS: “And God formed man of dust of the earth, and breathed upon is face THE BREATH OF LIFE, AND THE MAN BECAME A LIVING SOUL (Genesis 2:7). Therefore, also, the Lord spat on the ground and made clay, and smeared it upon the eyes, POINTING OUT THE ORIGINAL FASHIONING OF MAN, HOW IT WAS EFFECTED, AND MANIFESTING THE HAND OF GOD TO THOSE WHO CAN UNDERSTAND BY WHAT [HAND] MAN WAS FORMED OUT OF THE DUST. For this which the artificer, the Logos/Word, had omitted to form in the womb [namely, the blind man’s eyes], He then supplied in public, that the works of God might be manifested in him in order that we might not be seeking our another hand by which man was fashioned, nor manifested, nor another Father; knowing that this hand of God which formed us at the beginning, and which does form us in the womb, has in the last times sought us out who were lost, winning back His own, and taking up the lost sheep upon His shoulders, and with joy RESTORING IT TO THE FOLD OF LIFE.

“Now, that the Logos/Word of God forms us in the womb, He says to Jeremias, ‘Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth from the womb, I sanctified thee, I appointed thee a prophet to the nations’ (Jeremiah 1:5). And Saint Paul, too, says in like manner, ‘But when it pleased God, Who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I be preaching Him as good tidings among the nations, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood’ (Galatians 1:15-16). As, therefore, we are by the Logos/Word formed in the womb, this very same Logos/Word formed THE VISUAL POWER IN HIM WHO HAD BEEN BLIND FROM HIS BIRTH. Christ showed openly Who it is that fashions us in secret, since the Logos/Word Himself had been made manifest to men. He declared the ORIGINAL FORMATION OF ADAM AND THE MANNER IN WHICH HE WAS CREATED, AND BY WHAT HAND HE WAS FASHIONED, INDICATING THE WHOLE FROM A PART. For the Lord Who FORMED THE VISUAL POWERS IS HE WHO MADE THE WHOLE MAN, CARRYING OUT THE WILL OF THE FATHER. AND INASMUCH AS MAN, WITH RESPECT TO THAT FORMATION WHICH WAS AFTER ADAM, HAVING FALLEN INTO TRANSGRESSION, NEEDED THE LAVER OF REGENERATION, THE LORD SAID TO HIM, THAT IS, UPON THE ONE WHOM HE HAD CONFERRED SIGHT AFTER HE HAD SMEARED HIS EYES WITH THE CLAY, ‘GO, WASH IN THE POOL OF SILOAM’ (John 9:7). Thus, He RESTORED to him both His perfect confirmation and that regeneration which takes place by means of the laver. Now for this reason the blind man was washed that he came seeing: SO THAT HE MIGHT BOTH KNOW THE ONE WHO HAD FASHIONED HIM, AND THAT MAN MIGHT LEARN TO KNOW HIM WHO HAS CONFERRED UPON HIM LIFE…

“Hence,” comments Saint Kyril of Alexandria, “The Lord sets forth the blind man from birth as a token that He WILL BE LEAVING THE MULTITUDE OF THE GOD-OPPOSERS, AND WILL RATHER VISIT THE GENTILES, AND TO THEM TRANSFER THE ABUNDANCE OF HIS CLEMENCY. Furthermore, He likens THE UNBELIEVING JEWS TO THE BLIND MAN BY REASON OF THEIR BEING BEFEFT OF THE TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD FROM THEIR FIRST AGE. THEY HAVE NOT THE LIGHT FROM GOD, THAT IS, THE ILLUMINATION THROUGH THE SPIRIT.” (Source: The Great Synaxaristes of the Orthodox Church)

By Thy boundless mercy, O Christ Our God, Giver of
Light, have mercy on us. Amen.

_______________

“Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!”

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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