The Light of the World

Today’s Gospel reading begins with Jesus saying, ‘I am the light of the world.’ He meets a man who lives in darkness, having been blind from birth. It was believed at that time that blindness was a punishment for sin, so Jesus’ disciples ask him ‘Who sinned?’ Jesus’ answer is that no one sinned. He heals the man and gives him sight.

Once the blind man is healed, he becomes a disciple of Jesus. For him, it’s simple. He has been given his sight, and that’s enough for him to believe that Jesus has come from God. When the man sees Jesus for the first time, he worships him. But the Pharisees reject Jesus. They cannot believe that the miracle was worked by God’s power, because Jesus did it on the sabbath day. The man born blind has seen Jesus and recognised him as the light of the world, but the Pharisees are still in the dark; blinded by prejudice, they cannot recognise God’s work and rejoice in it.

This Gospel story challenges us to think about our own blindness. If our prejudices prevent us from seeing God’s light, then we will remain in the dark, like the Pharisees. If, like the man born blind, we can recognise our need for healing, then Jesus will open our eyes so that we can see him and worship him as the light of the world.

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