“I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life” (Gospel Acclamation for this Sunday). Jesus is the light of the world that has been sent to the world by the Father. “Light” and “sent” are the themes of this Sunday’s readings.
“God does not see as man sees: man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart” says our First Reading as all of David’s older, bigger, and stronger brothers are overlooked by the Lord as He chooses David to be anointed by the priest and prophet, Samuel. This is the same message that Jesus gets across toward the end of our Gospel: That those who count themselves blind are the ones that will see, and those who think that they can see, are unknowingly blind.
This blind man, Bartimaeus (see Mark 10:46-52), in the Gospel of John stands in for all humanity: We are all born totally in sin, blind to the light of Christ Jesus because of our lack of grace (original sin). But let’s take a closer look at what Jesus does in our Gospel this Sunday.
In the Gospel of John, from its first chapter up until this story in chapter nine, Jesus refers to Himself, twenty-five times, as the “sent” one. He then sees Bartimaeus and makes a spittle of clay/dust in the ground and places it on his eyes evoking imagery from the Garden of Eden where Adam was taken from the clay/dust of the ground and created. Perhaps we are going to see a new creation in this story? But a new creation in the New Testament happens by Baptism, how then can this be? Let’s read on.
After Jesus anoints the blind man’s eyes, He tells him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, which St John ever-so-kindly tells us, with a massive wink, means “sent.” Let’s put two and two together. Jesus is the “sent” one and He tells this guy to go and wash in the “sent” pool. This is St John’s way of pointing out the reality of Baptism. When we were bapt