Super Evangelium S. Ioannis LecturaCommentary on JohnCaput 9Chapter 9CaecusThe Blind ManLectio 1Lecture 1Curatio caeciHealing of the blind man9:1 Et praeteriens Iesus vidit hominem caecum a nativitate. [n. 1294]9:1 And Jesus, passing by, saw a man blind from birth: [n. 1294]9:2 Et interrogaverunt eum discipuli eius: Rabbi, quis peccavit, hic, aut parentes eius, ut caecus nasceretur? [n. 1295]9:2 And his disciples asked him: rabbi, who has sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind? [n. 1295]9:3 Respondit Iesus: neque hic peccavit, neque parentes eius, sed ut manifestentur opera Dei in illo. [n. 1298]9:3 Jesus answered: neither this man nor his parents has sinned; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. [n. 1298]9:4 Me oportet operari opera eius qui misit me, donec dies est. Venit nox, quando nemo potest operari. [n. 1303]9:4 I must do the works of him who sent me while it is day: the night comes, when no man is able to work. [n. 1303]9:5 Quamdiu sum in mundo, lux sum mundi. [n. 1308]9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. [n. 1308]9:6 Hoc cum dixisset, expuit in terram, et fecit lutum ex sputo: et linivit lutum super oculos eius, [n. 1309]9:6 When he had said these things, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and he spread the clay on his eyes, [n. 1309]9:7 et dixit ei: vade, lava in natatoria Siloe, quod interpretatur missus. Abiit ergo, et lavit: et venit videns. [n. 1309]9:7 And he said to him: go, wash in the pool of Siloam, which means sent. He went therefore and washed, and he came back seeing. [n. 1309]1293. Postquam Dominus doctrinae suae illuminativam virtutem ostendit verbo, hic consequenter confirmat eam facto, caecum corporaliter illuminando.1293. After showing the enlightening power of his teaching by his own words, our Lord confirms this by his action, when he gives sight to one physically blind.Et circa hanc illuminationem tria ponuntur.In regard to this three things are presented:Primo infirmitas;first, the man’s infirmity;secundo infirmitatis sanatio, ibi hoc cum dixisset, expuit in terram etc.;second, his healing, at when he had said these things, he spat on the ground;tertio de sanatione, Iudaeorum disceptatio, ibi itaque vicini etc.third, a discussion among the Jews about this health, at therefore the neighbors (John 9:8).Circa primum duo facit.In regard to the first he does two things:Primo ponitur infirmitas;first, the man’s infirmity is mentioned;secundo inquiritur causa eius, ibi interrogaverunt eum discipuli.second, we see an inquiry about its cause, at and his disciples asked him.1294. Sciendum est circa primum, quod Iesus abscondens se, et de templo recedens, dum praeteriret, vidit hunc caecum. Et hoc est quod dicit et praeteriens Iesus, vidit hominem caecum a nativitate. Ubi tria considerantur. Primo quidem praeterivit, ut declinaret Iudaeorum furorem; Eccli. VIII, 13: ne accendas carbones peccatorum, arguens eos, et ne incendaris flamma ignis peccatorum illorum. Secundo ut emolliret Iudaeorum duritiam ex miraculo facto et fiendo; infra c. XV, 24: si opera non fecissem in eis quae nemo alius fecit, peccatum non haberent. Tertio ut per operationem signi, verba sua firmaret; nam facta Domini, eorum quae dicta sunt a se, faciunt fidem; Mc. ult., 20: sermonem confirmante, sequentibus signis.1294. It should be noted in regard to the first that Jesus hid himself and left the temple, and when he was passing he saw the blind man: and Jesus, passing by, saw a man blind from birth. Three things are considered here. First, he passed by to avoid the anger of the Jews: do not kindle the coals of a sinner lest you be burned in his flaming fire (Sir 8:10). Second, he sought to soften their hardness of heart by working a miracle: if I had not done among them the works that no other man has done, they would not have sin (John 15:24). Third, he went on his way in order to confirm his words by working a sign; for our Lord’s works produce faith in the things that he says: he confirmed the message by the sign that attended it (Mark 16:20).Mystice autem, secundum Augustinum, genus humanum est iste caecus. Nam spiritualis caecitas peccatum est, Sap. II, 21: excaecavit eos malitia eorum. Qui a nativitate caecus est, quia ex sua origine trahit peccatum. Haec enim caecitas contigit per peccatum in homine primo, de quo omnes originem traduximus; Eph. II, 3: eratis natura, idest naturali origine, filii irae.In the mystical sense, according to Augustine, this blind man is the human race. Sin is a spiritual blindness: their wickedness blinded them (Wis 2:21). The human race is blind from birth, because it contracted sin from its origin, for the blindness occurs through sin in the first man, from whom all of us draw our origin. We read, we were by nature, by natural origin, children of wrath (Eph 2:3).1295. Consequenter cum dicit et interrogaverunt eum discipuli eius, agitur de causa ipsius infirmitatis, et1295. Then, at and his disciples asked him, the cause of this man’s infirmity is discussed:primo inquiritur causa ipsius a discipulis;first, the disciples ask about its cause;secundo manifestatur a Christo, ibi neque hic peccavit.second, Christ explains it: neither this man nor his parents has sinned.1296. Circa primum tria quaeren da occurrunt. Primum est causa inquisitionis discipulorum a Christo, quae est, ut Chrysostomus dicit, quia Iesus egrediens de templo, et videns hunc caecum, valde studiose respexit, quasi videns in eo materiam operandae virtutis; ita ut discipuli hoc videntes, scilicet eum studiose videntem, moti fuerunt ad interrogandum.1296. In regard to the first, three things are to be considered. The first is the reason for the disciples questioning Christ. According to Chrysostom, this was because Jesus, leaving the temple and seeing this blind man, looked at him intently, as though seeing in him an opportunity to manifest his power. And so the disciples seeing him look so intently at the blind man were impelled to question him.Secundo discipulorum diligentia, quia dicunt rabbi, vocantes eum magistrum, ut innuant se sic quaerere, quasi discere desiderantes.Second, we see the seriousness of the disciples, because they say, rabbi, calling him teacher, to indicate that they are questioning him in order to learn.Tertio quare, quaerentes causam peccati, dixerunt quis peccavit?Third, we see why they asked, who has sinned? when they inquire into the reason for the man’s blindness.Dicendum, secundum Chrysostomum, quod quia Dominus supra V, 14, scilicet quando paralyticum sanavit, dixerat ei: ecce iam sanus factus es: vade, et amplius noli peccare, cogitaverunt discipuli, quod propter peccatum ei illa infirmitas accidisset, aestimantes ulterius quod omnis humana infirmitas proveniret ex peccato, secundum quod Eliphaz dicit, Iob IV, 7: quis unquam innocens periit? Et ideo quaerebant utrum ex peccato suo vel parentum caecus natus fuisset. Sed quod ex peccato suo esset, non videtur: quia nullus peccat antequam nascatur, cum animae ante corpora non fuerint, nec peccaverint, ut quidam falso opinati sunt: secundum illud Rom. IX, 11: cum nondum nati fuissent, aut aliquid boni egissent aut mali . . . non ex operibus, sed ex vocante dictum est ei; quia maior serviet minori. Quod autem hoc ex peccato parentum passus fuerit, non videtur: quia Deut. XXIV, 16, dicitur: non occidentur patres pro filiis, nec filii pro parentibus.It must be said, according to Chrysostom, that because the Lord said to the paralytic, when he healed him, behold, you are made well: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to you (John 5:14), the disciples thought that his infirmity was due to sin. They also thought that every human illness arose from sin, as Eliphaz said: think now, who that was innocent ever perished? (Job 4:7). Therefore, they asked whether he had been born blind on account of his own sin or that of his parents. It does not seem to have been on account of his own sin, because no one sins before he is born, since souls do not exist before their bodies, nor do they sin, as some mistakenly think: though they were not yet born and had done nothing, either good or bad . . . not because of works but because of his call, she was told: the elder will served the younger (Rom 9:11). Nor does it seem that he suffered on account of a sin of his parents, for we read: the fathers will not be put to death for their children, nor will the children be put to death for the fathers (Deut 24:16).Sed sciendum, quod est duplex poena qua homines puniuntur. Una est spiritualis quantum ad animam; alia est corporalis quantum ad corpus. Et poena quidem spirituali numquam filius pro patre punitur. Cuius ratio assignatur Ez. XVIII, 4, quia anima filii non est ex patre, sed a Deo. Omnes, inquit, animae meae sunt, scilicet per creationem, sicut anima patris, ita anima filii mea est: anima quae peccaverit ipsa punietur. Hoc etiam dicit Augustinus in quadam epistola. Sed poena corporali filius pro patre punitur, cum quantum ad corpus sit quaedam res patris. Et expresse hoc habetur Gen. XIX, ubi filii Sodomorum occisi sunt pro peccato parentum in subversione Sodomae. Multoties etiam Dominus comminatur Iudaeis occisionem puerorum propter peccata parentum.Note that people are punished with two kinds of punishment. One is spiritual and concerns the soul; the other is bodily and concerns the body. A child is never punished on account of his father with a spiritual punishment, because the soul of a child is not from his father but from God: all souls are mine, that is, by creation, the soul of the father as well as the soul of the child is mine: the soul that sins will be punished (Ezek 18:4). Augustine also says this in one of his letters. But a child is punished on account of his father with a bodily punishment, since he is of his father as far as his body is concerned. This is expressly shown when Sodom was destroyed, the children of the inhabitants of Sodom were killed on account of the sins of their parents (Gen 19). Again, the Lord very often threatened to destroy the children of the Jews on account of the sins of their parents.1297. Quare autem uno peccato alius puniatur, sciendum, quod poena duo habet, laesionem et remedium. Nam aliquando abscinditur membrum ut totum corpus conservetur: et sic poena huius laesionem infert inquantum abscinditur, sed remedium habet inquantum conservat corpus. Numquam tamen medicus nobilius membrum abscindit propter conservationem minus nobilis, sed e converso. In rebus autem humanis, anima nobilior est corpore, et corpus nobilius exterioribus rebus; et ideo numquam fit ut aliquis propter corpus in anima puniatur, sed potius in corpore propter remedium animae. Quandoque ergo Deus irrogat poenas corporibus, vel rebus exterioribus, propter remedium bonum animae: et tunc huiusmodi poenae non inferuntur ut laesivae tantum, sed ut purgativae in remedium. Unde et ipsa puerorum Sodomitarum occisio fuit ad bonum animarum: non quidem ad meritum, sed ne paternae malitiae imitatores, vivendo peccata cumulantes, atrocius punirentur. Sic etiam pro peccatis parentum pluries aliqui puniuntur.1297. To understand why one person is punished on account of the sins of another, we must realize that a punishment has two aspects: it is an injury and a remedy. Sometimes a part of the body is cut off to save the entire body. And a punishment of this kind causes an injury insofar as a part is cut off, but it is a remedy insofar as it saves the body itself. Still, a doctor never cuts off a superior member to save one which is inferior, but the other way around. Now in human matters, the soul is superior to the body, and the body is superior to external possessions. And so it never happens that someone is punished in his soul for the sake of his body, but rather he is punished in his body as a curing remedy for his soul. Therefore, God sometimes imposes physical punishments, or difficulties in external concerns, as a beneficial remedy for the soul. And then punishments of this kind are not given just as injuries, but as healing remedies. Thus, the killing of the children of Sodom was for the good of their souls: not because they deserved it, but so they would not be punished more severely for increasing their sins in a life spent in imitating their parents. And in this way some are often punished for the sins of their parents.1298. Consequenter cum dicit respondit Iesus etc., manifestat Dominus causam infirmitatis, et1298. Then when he says, Jesus answered, our Lord reveals the reason for the man’s infirmity:primo excludit causam opinatam;first, he excludes the reason they assumed;secundo subdit veram; etsecond, he mentions the real reason; andtertio manifestat ipsam.third, he explains it.1299. Causam quidem opinatam excludit, cum respondit dicens neque hic peccavit, neque parentes eius. Hanc enim esse causam infirmitatis, opinati sunt discipuli, ut dictum est.1299. He excludes the reason they assumed when he says, neither this man nor his parents has sinned: for the disciples had assumed that this was the reason for his infirmity, as was said.