As Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth.
Jesus spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with clay, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Silo’am (which means Sent.) So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said “I am the man.”John 9:1, 6-9
This excerpt from John’s Gospel takes place as Jesus is making his way to Jerusalem. There, he will be crucified and will give his life for the redemption of the world. Several of the events that occur and the encounters that Jesus has as he makes this journey fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah from about 700 years before the Incarnation. Isaiah proclaims, “Behold, your God will come…He will come and save you. The the eyes of the blind shall be opened…(Is 35:4-5)” Isaiah continues to list the wonderful signs that will accompany God’s salvation. Throughout the gospels, Jesus shows himself to be the one foretold by the prophets. This story is just one of many such episodes.
It might seem strange how Jesus chooses to heal this man. What does He do? He spits on the ground. He makes a muddy, clay mixture and smears it on the man’s eyes. Surely, as God, Jesus could have come up with a more hygienic and palatable way to restore the man’s sight! And yet, this is what Jesus does, so we must think about why He would do such a thing.
First, recall the creation account from Genesis. God makes man from dust of the ground. Now consider saliva. Saliva is over 95% water. Also, in this case, the water comes from the body of Jesus. The Church uses water in Baptism. So, in the Scriptures, man is created from the dust of the earth, and in Baptism, men and women are recreated- freed from sin, and made children of God.
In this story, Jesus is signaling that His mission is to “recreate.” He is the one whom the prophets promised would be sent to make God present among the people and to restore what was lost by sin.
What does it mean that Jesus has come to “recreate”? Does creation need to be redone or fixed? Do we believe that Jesus has the mission and power to do this? How is this work continued now that He has ascended to Heaven?
At Baptism, you were given new life in Christ. Find your Baptsimal certificate. Read it over. Mark the date of your Baptism on your calendar. Thank God and your parents for the gift of your Baptism.