March 2, 2008 Year A
Fourth Sunday of Lent
Reflections on the Readings
By Dennis Hankins
Theme: But Now I See!
…One thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see. They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?"
Today's readings are full of light. It is the kind of light that is meant to bring us to a fuller worship of Jesus. In this holy light we are inspired to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. In this Holy Season of Lent we desire a better, holier relationship with our Lord. It is a time of separating ourselves from the unfruitful works of darkness. Indeed, through fasting, prayer and works of charity, we are letting the light of Christ shine in our lives and lifestyle.
It is important to note that the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. And it is this interior life that Lenten practices cultivate. Jesus said what comes out of us is what defiles us. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. (Mark 7:20-23) Jesus said all these evil things come from within, and they defile us.
We can say that the restoration of the blind man's sight points to an even greater restoration of vision. This is not to minimize the gracious miracle of restored vision. And this miracle may be even more than restored sight. It may even be sight created, for the man was born blind. He was born blind in his eyes and in his heart. Some today are born blind but we are all born blind in our heart.
After Jesus had heard of this man's excommunication from the Synagogue, he found him and said, "Do you believe, in the Son of man?" He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you." He said, "Lord, I believe"; and he worshiped him.
This is one of the most profound exchanges in Holy Scripture. For it highlights that it is with the heart that man believes. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. (Romans 10:10)
Each of us struggles against the blindness that keeps us from a clear vision of Jesus. We sometimes do not see God rightly and view others around us wrongly. It is this vision in our heart that needs restoration. Sometimes we cherish vengeful and judgmental thoughts. These musings of the heart give us a sense of power. With this power we become full of pride and puffed up. And even though we know it makes us less like Christ, we are deceived into thinking it's all right to meditate upon these desires as long as we don't wield the power.
But only to nibble at the fruit of our desires is to die. Is to become blind. Is to believe oneself wise enough to know how to adore the sword without actually picking it up. How many times have we sewn fig leaves together to cover up the truth that we not only loved the sword, but we lived by the sword and vanquished our foes with its power, only to realize that he who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword he wields. Such blindness of heart is what we seek forgiveness for from the Lord and from each other.
During Lent, but not just Lent, the Holy Spirit shines the light of God's truth on our hearts. This light seeks to cast the darkness out of our lives. Into every nook and cranny and secret place of our being this light exposes the unfruitful works of darkness. Consequently this brings us to an examination of conscience and if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and he knows everything (I John 3:20)
Let us run to the confessional and open our hearts. Afterward you will leave saying, "One thing I know, I was blind, but now I see!"
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, Often I find myself cherishing thoughts that are not your thoughts. I often desire ways that are not your ways. Too little do I contemplate the joy of your love. Wash my heart afresh with the waters of my baptism so that I may see the beauty of true holiness; that I may worship the Lord out of a pure heart. Amen.