March 19th – IV Sunday of Lent

My Dear Friends,

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:14) 

“Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) 

I’ve got a problem with people who proclaim a God who punishes us for our sins. This goes against the God that was revealed to us by
Jesus Christ. This is the central question posed to Jesus in the gospel today: is a man blind because of his sins or those of his parents? The perception of God in the time of Jesus was that the Almighty punished us for our sins, but has this perception changed much over the last 2000 years? Many of us can still remember nuns with rulers (God bless them) and our grandmothers telling us that God would get back at us for misbehaving. We have to start changing this narrow perception of a punishing God to a God that forgives and whose love can and will transform the world. We are plagued with a sinful blindness that only Jesus can heal. 

The poor blind man is innocently thrust into the middle of this debate over the consequences of sin, but it leads to yet another life-altering encounter with our Lord just like we saw with the Samaritan woman last week. In both cases, God has not punished either of them for any transgression, but both are blessed with a personal encounter with Jesus. They both come to a slow realization of who this man Jesus truly is. With the blind man, he goes from “the man called Jesus” to confessing that he must be a prophet to finally believing that Jesus is the Son of Man and worshipping him. It’s also worth pointing out that there are references to Baptism throughout today’s readings: anointing in the first reading, the symbol of light in the second, and the washing away of the man’s blindness at the Pool of Siloam in the gospel. This is important because our entire journey through the Lenten desert is towards the oasis of Easter waters where our catechumens will be reborn in Christ and where the rest of us will be refreshed and renewed. 

Jesus stands ready to open all of our eyes this Lent. We are blinded by sin which sometimes leads us to the false impressions that we have of God especially if we look upon him as a vengeful God. We may feel that we don’t deserve his mercy, but that’s up to God and not us. He has made us worthy of his mercy. He wants us to rise up from the darkness of sin that leads to death and to walk in his marvelous light. That is why we need to see the world the way God sees it: not as a world filled with evil but a world filled with people capable of doing so much good. In the first reading, Samuel did not recognize whom God had chosen to be the future king of Israel because he was not seeing with the eyes of God. Samuel was looking at the physical appearances of David’s brothers and not at the depth of David’s heart. If we look at the world and ourselves with this new sight that Jesus gives us, we will see nothing but beauty even when we look in the mirror. Last week, Jesus promised us living waters and today he uses water to wash away this man’s blindness. Our journey this Lent is towards the life-giving waters of Easter that will cleanse and open our eyes to be able to see the world through the eyes of God.

God bless you all,

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