4th Sunday of Lent Year A

     No matter how familiar we are with a particular bible story, if we read it attentively there is always a new insight to gain. In fact, there are many different ways to read a particular bible passage, each with its own unique and important insight into who God is and what our relationship with Him is all about. One important, yet often overlooked way of reading the Scriptures is to see ourselves reflected in the various people of the bible. This way of reading Scriptures challenges us to relate to a particular passage by seeing ourselves in the passage.  Today’s story of the man born blind is a story that all of us can relate to and I think if we are honest with ourselves we will identify with the blind man.

     All of us go through blinding experiences in our lives. Perhaps these moments come with the loss of a loved one or some other personal tragedy, or perhaps they come when our priorities get out of order and we find ourselves just wandering through this life aimlessly. It is precisely in these dark moments that we must allow ourselves to be confronted with the reality of faith because as followers of Christ, there is only one way to look at life and that is through the lens of faith. For, the gift of faith, enable us to look at life differently, for as St. Paul reminds us in today’s second reading, we were once in darkness, but now we are now light in the world. After all, Jesus tells us that He is the light of the world and whoever follows Him will have the light of life. So while His light is always shinning in our lives, as the darkness swells around us, His light seems to glow all the brighter. While the gift of faith is a bright light that can guide us through the darkest times in our lives, in order to know where God is in the hard times you have to beforehand know who God is.

     The truth is that all of us were born blind to the light of faith. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how that light came into your life? Like the blind man in today’s Gospel, it was ultimately God who first sought us out. It was God who recognized our blindness and called us into His own marvelous light. Just as Jesus passed by the blind man over 2,000 years ago and in His mercy and love reached out and touched the blind man, so too today, Jesus is still passing by, looking for each one of us and in His mercy and love enters into our lives. The 2,000-year history of our church shows us that when we allow Christ’s light to penetrate the darkness of our lives, He takes that evil and makes something beautiful out of it. In fact “God makes use of evil in such a superb way and with such skill that the result is better than if there had never been evil.”[1]

     Yet Jesus does not operate in a vacuum, no He works through others to reach us. Think about it, who first introduced you to the light of faith? Regardless of whether you were young or old when you were baptized, you did not come to the faith on your own. Whether it was our parents before we ever knew what was going on, or a friend who introduced us to the Church when we were older, was it not someone else who brought us into the light of faith? It’s the beauty of our Catholic faith. You see our faith has not been handed down by a text book, or through some other secret means. No, our faith has been handed down from one person to another. The story of our church is the story of the Son of God calling 12 men to follow after Him. They followed Him, He poured the light of faith into their hearts and then they wanted to hand that light onto others, who in turn came to see what the light of Christ did in their lives and in turn handed the faith down. Our faith has been spread from one believer who recognized what God had done for them passing it on to another who passed it on to another, and to another and so on, down until today when you were baptized. For it was at the moment of baptism that God, like David in today’s first reading, we were consecrated and anointed with the Spirit. For it was at our baptism that God poured the light of faith into our hearts and adopted us as His sons and daughters.

     Every year, for the 40 days of Lent we take time away from the business of our lives and seek to deepen and renew our baptismal commitment. As Christ’s light continues to remove the blindness from our lives, we then become commissioned to be the light of Christ in the world, reaching out in charity to the most needy and sacrificing our comfort and ease to bring the redeeming love of Christ to others, beginning with our own family members. So often we as Catholic’s shy away from sharing this light of faith because we feel that we don’t know what we are talking about. Well never forget the blind man in today’s Gospel knew absolutely no theology, yet He knew what God did in His life and shared it with others, leading others to seek that light out. We don’t need to be theologians to hand on the light of faith entrusted to us. No, we simply need to tell people how God healed our blindness. So place yourself in the place of the blind man in today’s Gospel.  What is your story? How has God healed your blindness? Who are you going to share that story with?

 

[1] Into Your Hands, Father Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us, 15.

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