June 7, 2021

Sunday of the Blind Man - The Miracle of Creation (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

"When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay." (Jn. 9:6)

The blind man of today's Gospel reading not only had an eye ailment that deprived him of the ability to see, but he was congenitally blind. That means he was eyeless. That is, not only did he not have the sense of sight, but he had no eyes at all. So the Lord did both. On the one hand, He created eyes and on the other hand, He gave him the power of sight.

However, the way of Christ's creative energy in this case, shows some truths that we want to emphasize with today's short sermon.

Reading the Gospel passage we are faced with an act of creation that proves that Christ, as one of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, is God and the creator of men. The way in which the Lord worked miracles clearly reveals the way man was created by the Triune God.

According to the divinely inspired account of the Old Testament, "God created man from the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). Exactly the same we see happening in the present case. "He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay."

With the Clay He Used, 
He Showed That He is the One who Created Adam.

Then we notice that He not only created the eyes or opened them, but "received sight". And of course it was not the clay nor the pool water that gave him the ability to see, but "the power that came out of His mouth, and having formed them He opened his eyes" (Theophylact of Bulgaria).

Thus, from this action of Christ, His Divinity is proved, that it was through Him the world was made. This is what the evangelist John says, enlightened by the Holy Spirit: "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:3-4).

On the other hand, the great truth is presented that the body is a direct creation of God and that it comes from the earth. Therefore the value of the human body lies in the fact that it is the result of God's direct creative energy and that it has the soul within it. The human body is clay, soil, but soil that has in it the energy of God or the logoi, as the Holy Fathers emphasize. These logoi give value to the human body. Thus the illumined Christians, those who have reached the state of theoria, see in creation and in man the logoi of God, that is why they do not reach the miserable state of deifying created things or to be offended by them in various ways.

It is Worth Noting That the Birth of a Man 
is a New Creation.

The Lord emphasized the truth: "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working" (John 5:17). According to the Fathers, there are no natural created laws that act in nature, but spiritual logoi. That is, the very presence of God creates and directs everything. Creation lives "through sharing in God's creative, foreknowing and life-giving energy." Sacred Chrysostom teaches that the hand of God, who created Adam, this same hand "is now with them again stretching out and reconciling". Therefore, the birth of a new man is an extension of God's creative energy and is in fact an energy of the logoi: "You shall increase and multiply and fill the earth" (Gen. 1:28). This truth is repeatedly presented in Holy Scripture. For example, for the Prophetess Anna, the mother of the Prophet Samuel, it is said that "the Lord shut up her womb" (1 Samuel/Kings 1:5-6). And when it pleased the Lord, He opened her womb. That is, God opens the womb when He wants and closes it when He wants. Of course, this is incomprehensible to today's people, but we must think in a biblical way. Sacred Chrysostom observes: "That which is born has its beginning from above, from the providence of God, and neither female nature, nor intercourse, nor any other self-sufficient action does". That is why it is a great sin when God gives the blessing to a woman to bear a child in the world and she refuses ... She hinders the creative energy of God.

The Miracle of the Man Blind From Birth 
Also Shows the Purpose of Christ's Coming Into the World.

He came to recreate and reform the human race. Thus Christ through His incarnation not only brought light to the world, but "also formed the eyes". With Holy Baptism all the senses of the human body become senses of the Body of Christ. Man unites with Christ and acquires meaning in his life. As the goldsmith takes a raw piece of gold, puts it in the furnace, where it is cleaned of impurities, and then places it in various molds and gives it shape, the same is done with man through Holy Baptism. "Our formless and vague life" takes on "form and limit" (Nicholas Cabasilas).

All of this shows that Christ is not just the leader of our faith, but our Life. He has given us life, sustains us in life, and gives us the taste and experience of eternal life. Our blindness stops when we live sacramentally in the Church. Those outside the Church are blind and unable to interpret the issues of life. Christians are truly enlightened, since they are united with the "Light of the world" and have eyes to see the eternal Light.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.