Friends, today in the strange and strikingly beautiful account of the healing of the man born blind in John’s Gospel, we find an iconic representation of Christianity as a way of seeing. Jesus spits on the ground and makes a mud paste, which he then rubs onto the man’s eyes. When the man washes his eyes in the pool of Siloam as Jesus had instructed him, his sight is restored.
The crowds are amazed, but the Pharisees—consternated and skeptical—accuse the man of being naïve and the one who healed him of being a sinner. With disarming simplicity, the visionary responds: “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
This is precisely what all Christians say when they have encountered the light of Christ. It was St. Augustine who saw in the making of the mud paste a metaphor for the Incarnation: the divine power mixing with the earth, resulting in the formation of a healing balm. When this salve of God made flesh is rubbed onto our eyes blinded by sin, we come again to see.