Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 30, 2014: 4th Sunday of Lent A

A mom and dad were bickering in the kitchen when their 6-yr old daughter came in and said, “You guys should get counseling.” After a surprise pause, the mom said, “out of the mouths of babes.” There was another 6-yr old who asked his mom, “Do you love me or God?” The mother, a self-professed atheist,  replied, “You, of course.” Her child replied, “I think that’s your big mistake.” Out of the mouths of babes...

Sometimes there are occasions when someone unexpectedly shows us how blind we are -- just as those 6 yr. old children demonstrated -- and then we remember that it is not only with the eyes that we see, but also with our mind, our heart, and our imagination. A narrow mind, a small heart, an impoverished imagination--all of these lead to loss of vision and shrink our world. This is especially true when we, the educated, grown adults, refuse to see and believe Jesus.

In the Gospel, we hear Jesus command a man born blind, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam. The man washes in Siloam and is cured of his physical blindness, but the Lord does much more for him. The man has not only been physically blind from birth, he has been spiritually blind as well; he has not believed. Jesus gives the man the opportunity he needs, allowing him to recognize the presence of God. Jesus asks, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man is obviously hungry to believe. I wonder if we have that kind of hunger to believe. Even though we may have been raised in a Catholic household where certain spiritual disciplines were emphasized since we were children, we may not have the desire to go further. In this way, are we like the Pharisees who refuses to believe, perhaps because it would disrupt our own comfortable notion of where religion should be in our lives? Is religion relegated to only children, women, and consecrated religious (e.g. priests, nuns).

When each of us were baptized, the priest handed to our godparent a lighted candle and pronounced the words, “Receive the light of Christ.” The priest tells the parents and godparents that they have been entrusted with this light so it will be kept burning brightly. Having been enlightened by Christ, the child is to always walk as a child of the light. The flame of faith which is in his heart is to be kept alive at all time so when the Lord comes, the child will go out to meet the Lord with all the saints of the Heavenly Kingdom. When we look at our lives, have we kept this flame of faith alive in our hearts? Or have we in some way kept this light hidden in a closet somewhere, hiding our identity and vocation as the one who was created, chosen, and sent by God to spread this light?

When we look around, the world desperately needs the light of Christ to shine brightly. Do you see how many different ways people can be blind? Selfishness blinds us to the needs of others. Insensitivity blinds us to the hurt we’re causing to others. Snobbery blinds us to the dignity of others. Pride binds us to our own faults. Prejudice blinds us to charity. Materialism blinds us to spiritual values. Who is going to shed the light on the blindness? We are. By growing growing daily in our belief, trust, and love for Jesus, we continue to bear the light of Christ. What a joy it would be for us at the end of our lives to learn that we have fulfilled our mission in life given to us by our Heavenly Father!

At this point in our Lenten journey on this Laetare Sunday, we need to rejoice that we have worked hard to get in touch with our own inner blindness. This week let us ask ourselves: what keeps me from seeing God in my life? What keeps me from seeing the needs of my neighbors?