“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’” (Jn 9: 1-5)
So the innocent suffering of a child born blind was not “because” of anybody’s sin, but for the works of God to be “made manifest in him.” Because the birth of a helpless, blind child calls the parents or caretakers of the child to extra-attentive service and selflessness, which are “works of God,” to care for the life of this child. (This is true, BTW, in the case of any baby, because all babies are helpless, but it is “particularly true,” if that makes any sense, in the case of a baby born blind.) Now, in the case of this particular “man blind from his birth,” who happened to cross the path of the God-Man, the works of God were made even more “manifest in him,” through the unique, healing ministry of our one-and-only Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave the man sight.
But what about the rest of the above-quoted passage? What did Jesus mean by the “night,” when “no one can work”? Isn’t He always, even today, “the light of the world”? Indeed He is. What He meant here was the brief, dark period of His passion, which was coming up, and about which He was warning, once again, His disciples. At the moment of His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, He said to those arresting Him, “But this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Lk 22: 53). Note that at His crucifixion there was to be “darkness over all the land” in the middle of the day (Mt 27: 45), as the disciples were scattered and unable “to work,” in helplessness and despair.
But Christ rose, and is risen today, dear zillions, bringing back His light and vision into our here and now, if we will have it. O Lord, help me see today, in Your light, that I may “work” in You, the light of the world, in Your kind of vision and effectiveness.