When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, He found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” [v.35]
Powerful, tender, specific, what a profound, seemingly simple and direct verse!
St. John presents Jesus as the Divine Listener: Jesus heard; as the always seeking Good Shepherd: He found him; and as the One who invites and calls: Do you believe…..!
He answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” [vs. 36]
In his own way the healed man is saying, like the father of the boy Jesus healed: “I do believe, help my unbelief!” [Mk.9:24]
The very next verse, Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and the one speaking with you is He.” [v.37] itself reminds us of: Jesus said to her, “I am He, the one who is speaking with you.” [Jn.4:26]
Then what immense joy surely exploded in the heart of the man as He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped Him. [v.38]
In these verses St. John, as it were, gives a mini-catechism about our need for healing and conversion, the tireless seeking for us until we have been found and opening ourselves to Divine Mercy, come to see, being no longer blind, and to confess, being no longer proud, that Jesus is our Lord and God, the whole confirmed in Jesus’ own words about why He is Incarnate among us, what His mission is: redemption, IF we accept the gift offered and become His disciples: Then Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.” [v.39]
The not seeing is a matter of free will choice, an arrogant and consequential – divine judgement following our choice – blindness for which we are solely responsible.
Consistently throughout this chapter the Pharisees have remained deaf and blind in their arrogance, challenging Jesus, seeking to refute not only what Jesus clearly does, not only what He teaches, but rebuffing Divine Mercy Himself and His compassion towards them: Some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard this and said to Him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.” [vs. 40,41]
The Pharisees, throughout each of the Holy Gospel accounts by St. John and the other Evangelists, reveal they have an innate, obsessive capacity for springing traps, meant to ensnare Jesus, on themselves.
In St. Matthew Jesus is blunt: Then His disciples approached and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what You said?” He said in reply, “Every plant that My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.” Blind guides, who strain out the gnat and swallow the camel! [Mt.15:12-14] and: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean.” [Mt. 23:25,26]
To place ourselves, in simple questioning-dialogue with Jesus, for greater understanding of His teaching, for understanding too just exactly what Jesus is inviting us to do: follow Him, which is to be in open-hearted conversation with Jesus like the disciples on the road to Emmaus and like them to have the fire of His love burn within us.
However, if, rather like the Pharisees, we place ourselves in an arrogant, blind, rejection-challenge position while in Christ’s presence, this is to choose to divorce ourselves from the offered communion of Love with the Most Holy Trinity.
It is to choose to stand alone, be alone, isolated from the Holy Trinity, which means at the same time we are choosing to be severed from the rest of the human family, to be severed from, and end up walking beside our true selves.
Surely that is too much aloneness for anyone!
© 2019 Fr. Arthur Joseph