THE SEEING MAN IS CAST OUT
(Sunday of the Blind Man, May 21)
After the man born blind was empowered by our Lord to see, he is “cast out” or excommunicated by the Pharisees. Why did they excommunicate him? Because blind men were useful to their agenda, while “seeing” ones were not.
They first questioned him about his healing on the Sabbath, then called his parents to ascertain that he indeed had been born blind. Finally, they again question the healed man, reviling him and trying to get him to condemn the One who healed him as a “sinner,” who broke their rules about the Sabbath. “Then they reviled him and said, ‘You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” (Jn 9:28-29) In response to their willful ignorance, the now-seeing man testifies: “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! …If this man were not from God, He could do nothing. They answered and said to him, ‘You were completely born in sins, and are you teaching us?’ And they cast him out.” Note that they say precisely the opposite of what Christ said, about the man’s birth. The Lord said that “neither this man nor his parents sinned,” that he was born blind (Jn 9:3).
In my Russian Orthodox Church, these days “seeing” men are also being reviled and “cast out,” for testifying to the Word of God. Just recently, a priest in Moscow, Fr. John Koval, was defrocked for replacing the word “victory” in Patriarch Kirill’s war-prayer with the word “peace.” The message is, priests are to serve the Patriarch’s “words” to the letter, while serving the Word of God is reviled. But let us not be discouraged nor scandalized, because our Lord prepared us for this type of thing: “These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.” (Jn 16:1-4) Christ is Risen!