Today’s Gospel reading recounts Jesus’ healing of a blind man. Near the end of the exchange, Jesus says “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind." What is so striking about this is that, as Bishop Barron often says, Jesus refuses our efforts to domesticate Him. The polarizing totality of the Incarnate Lord will not be made into the image of sinful man. If we make Jesus simply a good moral teacher or a wise sage, then a completely incoherent portrait results wherein nothing of meaning can be said. We cannot simply make Jesus into what we want Him to be, such a move being the height of idolatry. He is the One who comes to us. We re-orient our lives around Him, not the other way around. He comes to give us life, being the very source of it.
The light of Christ, the Word made flesh, comes into the world. From today’s passage, we see the polarizing effect that divine illumination has. Those who think they see, fumbling around in the darkness, are made to realize they do not really see anything. Those who realize they cannot see anything yearn for even a glint of light. So, some respond to Jesus eager to see and bask in His light, while others want to shut the light off as quickly as possible.
Imagine a group of people sitting in a dark room. Some of the people there are doing things they do not want anyone else to know about. If the darkness persists, they can continue their deeds without being seen by others. They pray nothing will ever light up the room. When the room is lit, they scramble to shut it off - on themselves and on everyone else. When the light of Christ shows itself to us, in the myriad ways He does so, we can easily respond to turn away from it. But if we take a moment to realize the light is only ultimately a threat to what enslaves us, we turn toward it.
I would argue the Pharisees in today’s passage knew that God was at work. It was simply that God was working in a way they did not want. He was working in a way that was beyond their control and power structure. God was doing things that broke through barriers they had erected in their minds. It is painful to realize that we may have built up strong ramparts under the guise of piety only to realize we have actually walled ourselves off from the work of God. When God shows this to us, when He lights up this truth, we can either pull the walls in on top of ourselves so as to remain in the dark or allow Him to rescue us from our own prison. We can allow the light to come into our lives and warm us from the cold bitterness of sin and resentment.