Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Wednesday in the fourth week of Lent

Today's Gospel is St John 9:1-38, the healing of a man blind from birth:

And Jesus passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth: And his disciples asked him: Rabbi, who hath sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?  Jesus answered: Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  I must work the works of him that sent me, whilst it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had said these things, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and spread the clay on his eyes,  And said to him: Go, wash in the pool of Siloe, which is interpreted, Sent. He went therefore, and washed, and he came seeing.  The neighbours therefore, and they who had seen him before that he was a beggar, said: Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said: This is he.  But others said: No, but he is like him. But he said: I am he.  They said therefore to him: How were thy eyes opened? He answered: That man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, and said to me: Go to the pool of Siloe, and wash. And I went, I washed, and I see.  And they said to him: Where is he? He saith: I know not.  They bring him that had been blind to the Pharisees.  Now it was the sabbath, when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Again therefore the Pharisees asked him, how he had received his sight. But he said to them: He put clay upon my eyes, and I washed, and I see. Some therefore of the Pharisees said: This man is not of God, who keepeth not the sabbath. But others said: How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.  They say therefore to the blind man again: What sayest thou of him that hath opened thy eyes? And he said: He is a prophet.  The Jews then did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and had received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight, And asked them, saying: Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then doth he now see?  His parents answered them, and said: We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But how he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: ask himself: he is of age, let him speak for himself.  These things his parents said, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had already agreed among themselves, that if any man should confess him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.  Therefore did his parents say: He is of age, ask himself.  They therefore called the man again that had been blind, and said to him: Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner. He said therefore to them: If he be a sinner, I know not: one thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see.They said then to him: What did he to thee? How did he open thy eyes?  He answered them: I have told you already, and you have heard: why would you hear it again? will you also become his disciples?  They reviled him therefore, and said: Be thou his disciple; but we are the disciples of Moses.  We know that God spoke to Moses: but as to this man, we know not from whence he is.  The man answered, and said to them: Why, herein is a wonderful thing, that you know not from whence he is, and he hath opened my eyes. Now we know that God doth not hear sinners: but if a man be a server of God, and doth his will, him he heareth. From the beginning of the world it hath not been heard, that any man hath opened the eyes of one born blind.  Unless this man were of God, he could not do any thing.  They answered, and said to him: Thou wast wholly born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.  Jesus heard that they had cast him out: and when he had found him, he said to him: Dost thou believe in the Son of God? He answered, and said: Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?  And Jesus said to him: Thou hast both seen him; and it is he that talketh with thee.  And he said: I believe, Lord. And falling down, he adored him.

Matins readings

Reading 1 Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John - In that time Jesus passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth. And so on.

Homily by St Augustine - Dread and wondrous are all the things which our Lord Jesus Christ did, both His works and His words; the works, because He wrought them; the words, because they are deep. If, therefore, we consider the meaning of this work of His, we see that that man which was blind from his birth was a figure of mankind. This spiritual blindness was the consequence of the sin of the first man, from whom we all inherit by birth, not death only, but depravity also. For if blindness be unbelief, and faith, light, whom, when Christ came, did He find faithful? May, the Apostle who had himself been born of the race of which the Prophets came, saith We also were by nature children of wrath, even as others. And if children of wrath, then children also of vengeance, children of damnation, children of hell. And wherefore so by nature, unless it were that the sin of the first man had made all his descendants to be born in sin, in that they partook of his nature? If, then, our nature bring sin with it, all men, according to the spirit, are born blind.

R. After that the Lord had looked upon him, the face of Moses shone. * And when the elders saw that his face shone, they marvelled and were sore afraid.
V. And when he came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in his hand, he wist not that his face shone, because that God had spoken with him.
R. And when the elders saw that his face shone, they marvelled and were sore afraid.

Reading 2: The Lord came; and what did He? He set before us a great mystery. Jesus spat on the ground, and made clay of the Spittle for the Word was made flesh. And He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay but yet that man saw not. He was anointed, indeed, but yet still he saw not. And He said unto him Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam. Now, it was the duty of the Evangelist to impress upon us the name of this Pool, and therefore he saith Siloam, which is, by interpretation, Sent. Ye, my brethren, know Who is signified where it is written: (The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a law-giver from his loins, until) He that shall be Sent cometh. Yea, He it is, Who, if He had not been sent, we had never been sent loose out of the prison-house of sin. The blind man went his way therefore, and washed his eyes in that Pool, which is, by interpretation, Sent in other words, he was baptized in Christ. When, therefore, he had figuratively been baptized in Him Whom the Father hath Sent into the world he came seeing. When he was anointed, he was perchance made a figure of a Catechumen.

R. Behold, I send My Angel before thee, to keep thee. * Beware, and obey My voice; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries; for Mine Angel shall go before thee.
V. O Israel, if thou wilt hearken unto Me, there shall no strange god be in thee, neither shalt thou worship any strange god for am the Lord.
R. Beware, and obey My voice; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries; for Mine Angel shall go before thee.

Reading 3: We have heard this great mystery. Ask of a man: Art thou a Christian? He answereth thee I am not. Then, if thou ask him: Art thou a pagan then, or a Jew? And he still saith unto thee Nay and thou say Art thou then a Catechumen, though not yet one of the faithful? and he saith Yea, a Catechumen then there thou seest a man anointed, but not yet washed. With what hath he been anointed? Ask of him, and he will tell thee. Ask of him in Whom he believeth, and, being a Catechumen, he will say: In Christ. But, behold, I speak before both Faithful and Catechumens. What said I touching the. Spittle and the clay? I said for 'the Word was made flesh.' This the Catechumens hear, but it is not enough for them to be anointed; they must make haste to the washing, if they would have their eyes opened.

R. Give ear, O My people, to My law * Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.
V. I will open My mouth in parables I will utter dark sayings of old.
R. Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost.
R. Incline your ears to the words of My mouth.

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