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Blog: March 19, 2023

Fr. Jeff and others share reflections on the Sunday readings.

March 19, 2023

"Go wash in the Pool of Siloam," —which means Sent—.

So, he went and washed, and came back able to see.”

 

We are stepping into the second half of the Lenten season. Let us continue to pray, fast, and give alms to glorify and praise our Lord. This Sunday, the Church continues an ancient tradition of preparing her catechumens through the rite of the second scrutiny. “All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death,” and from that submersion into his death we are healed and enlightened, so that “we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom 6:3-4). 

As in last week’s Gospel about Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, the Gospel of this week has many allusions to Baptism. The washing of the man in the pool of Siloam is a prototype for Christian Baptism. In the Gospel, Jesus sends the blind man to Siloam, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam” (John 9:4). Here again John adds his own comment to make sure we understand what is really happening; he wrote, Siloam means “Sent.” So, when John tells us that the blind man washed in the Pool of Siloam which means Sent and came back seeing, he wants us to understand that the blind man washed in Jesus and came back seeing. What really happened is that the blind man was washed by Jesus. The blind man’s washing in the pool of Siloam is symbolic of how the blood of Jesus that He shed on the cross washes us from sin. When Jesus healed him, he was totally able to see. He had been totally cured of his blindness. Likewise, this is what Jesus does when we trust Him for salvation; He totally cleans us from our sin. Jesus calls us to “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” and He is waiting for us to respond.

This week’s Gospel is also a story of faith and a journey of Lent. Through the man’s encounter with Jesus, the man born blind is healed, his sight is restored, and his conversion to discipleship begins. The man born blind gradually comes to a greater understanding about who Jesus is and what it means to be his disciple, while the Pharisees (those who should see) are the ones who remain blind. If we see the blind man’s journey as the journey of each and every Christian, it means that each of us has a similar set of stages in our lives as Christians: our life before an encounter with Christ, the encounter with Christ and our healing, and our mission after that initial encounter with Christ. Earlier in the Gospel story, the blind man called Jesus, "Rabbi." Then he didn't know who Jesus was. After that he identified him as a prophet. Finally, he calls him "Lord." And he worshipped him. That is what Jesus wants from us as well. Jesus wants us to come to that time in our lives when our spiritual blindness is healed and we call him "Lord." This is what Jesus wants from us. Jesus wants to heal our blindness so that we too can believe in Christ and worship him as our Lord. That is what the Gospel of John and Christianity is all about. When Jesus heals our spiritual blindness, we gradually perceive who Jesus is. Like the healed blind man, we come to believe and worship him.

The encounter between Jesus and the blind man is the story of weakness, blindness, washing, and healing. Likewise, it is the story of us. Each one of us has our own story of weakness, blindness, washing, and healing, and salvation. We are called to go, wash and see in the light of Christ. In this season of Lent, Jesus is transforming us and changing us. Are we like the blind man or the Pharisee? Do we recognize our blindness? Do we acknowledge God’s transforming power? Do we accept the restoration of our relationship with Christ? The Good News is that God has already taken the first step of transforming us, restoring our sight and healing our blindness. Let us respond to Christ’s instruction to “Go, wash in the pool Siloam!” May we have courage to see and to proclaim what we see. May we have God’s own life at work within us so that we can grow more and more aware of the divine reality that surrounds us. May our hearts become more divine in this time of Lent.

 

Peace,

Fr. Quan