The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John 9:1-38
In the life of every man or woman there is a defining moment. It is called a defining moment because it will often impact us in a way that really changes our lives permanently, it impacts us in such a way that it defines who we are for the rest of our lives.
For some people their defining moment is when they hit a certain age, such as 40 years old. Or when they have open-heart surgery. For others the defining moment is the loss of a loved one. It may be a recognition or award that is received such as the Nobel prize or a certain project that you finish such as the Eiffel tower. For others they are defined by great tragedies in life, even haunted by them.
In the case of the blind man in today’s gospel reading, his first encounter with the Lord Jesus, the moment he regained his sight, was amazing. But it gets even better. His true defining moment came later. It wasn’t the recovery of his physical sight that was the defining moment. That should be an amazing idea for us to grasp. Imagine a young man who had been deprived of the sense of sight from the time he was born. He had never seen the face of his mother or father. He had never seen a sunset or sunrise. He had never seen the majesty of the Temple in Jerusalem. He had never seen the stars or the moon light up the night. After all of this, we would think that his defining moment wold be the moment Christ healed his blindness….and we would be wrong. His defining moment was the moment when his spiritual eyes were opened.
The blind man had just been cast out of the synagogue for telling the Pharisees what had happened to him because of Jesus. When Jesus heard that they had cast the blind man out of the synagogue, He went and found him and said to him “Do you believe in the Son of God?”
The defining moment had finally arrived. It wasn’t the recovery of his physical sight that was the defining moment. His defining moment was the moment when his spiritual eyes were opened. When he was asked “Do you believe in the Son of God?” He answered “And who is He, Sir, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him, and it is He who speaks to you.”
No matter what you have allowed to define you in life, the fact that you are in the Church opens up great possibilities. You can be like this man who had great miracles done in his own life and yet when you stare at the face of Christ or hear His name you still do not know exactly who He is. You may fail to understand His true identity. You may even say with your lips “He is the Son of God” but it is not the lips which define us, but the heart. The defining moment in a man’s life is the moment that grabs his whole heart and begins to form and mold him for the rest of his life.
When a young man or woman understands the reality of who Jesus is, he leaves everything and jumps over every hurdle in the way of loving and serving his Master and Lord. The Lord Jesus says “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” The Lord lights everything that is dark. He takes the dark places in our hearts and fills them with His light. He often sees us wandering about in our lives, like people who are drunk or blind. He alone provides purpose and light for our path.
His question to the blind man is the defining question for every human being today “Do you believe in the Son of God?” This question is not only important for you, it is important for our cities, our country and all of it’s leaders. The way we answer this question will not say much about Jesus. Our opinion won’t change who He is. But our opinion will say a whole lot about us. Our answers are a litmus test in the eyes of God. What we believe about Jesus tells God everything about us. It tells God whether we understand beauty, goodness, truth, light, holiness and love. If we look at Jesus and we don’t see these things it’s not because they aren’t there….it’s because we are still blind.
“Do you believe in the Son of God?” It’s a simple question that changes a man’s life when he begins to wrestle with the possible answers. The change is nothing short of a miracle. It becomes his defining moment, the moment when a blind man sees his place in the world and his relationship to the Creator for the very first time.
And glory be to God forever AMEN.