Reflections on the Readings
Fourth Sunday of Lent - March 10, 2013 - Year A Scrutinies
The Year of Faith
Now I See
So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, "Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner." He answered, "Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see."
The gift of sight. To be truly able to see things and others and ourselves as we should is a gift we seek this Lenten season. In the first reading Samuel is impressed with the appearance of Eliab. Sent on a mission to anoint a King for Israel from among the sons of Jesse, Samuel takes one look at Eliab and says, "Surely the Lord's anointed is here before him." Then the Lord speaks to his servant, Samuel, and says, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
Things are not always as they appear. Not until David was called from the fields where he was tending the sheep did Samuel hear in his heart, "This is the one, anoint him!" Samuel poured the oil over David's head in the presence of his brothers and then the Spirit accompanies David in a mighty way. God confirms what he wants us to know with signs following. His word does not suffer loss nor fall short, but accomplishes its meaning and brings to pass the destiny God ordains. David would recount this scene many years later and sing: "Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows."
The great light of Christ heals us of spiritual blindness. In the second reading, Paul reminds us that we are children of light. He describes the blindness of sin and how such blindness is a world of unfruitful darkness. In that darkness shameful secrets exist. We have been healed of that blindness, yet Paul is quick to admonish us to 'walk as children of light,' for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.
Speaking to the Corinthians, Paul speaks of how the gospel is veiled only to those who are perishing. "In their case," he says, "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God."
Remembering the first words of the dawn of creation Paul recalls God speaking, "Let light shine out of darkness." It is this same God who shines in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The call of the gospel of light is meant to bring healing in every way we live in the blindness of sin. In our Lenten journey we are encouraged to pray for a greater and deeper presence of Christ in us, in our families, and in our communities. Jesus still gives new eyes to those who seek him.
As we come out of the lethargy of winter, Lent helps us to find our way out of our spiritual torpidity and blindness. As Paul concludes in the second reading: "Awake , O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light."
The Gospel reminds us of that saying: 'There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.' Despite strong evidence to the contrary, the Pharisees go out of their way to suggest that the man born blind was never blind at all. They talk to the man Jesus healed, then they talk to the parents, then they talk to the man Jesus healed. All the while they are daring anyone to say what they may want to say about Jesus, that he is the Christ. On threat of being thrown out of the synagogue everyone speaks in measured ways.
Pressed on the matter, however, the man whom Jesus healed says, "Look, I once was blind. From the day of my birth I was blind. But that is all gone now, for now I see. You get that? I once was blind, but now I see."
Someone with only an argument is no match for someone with an experience. The gift of sight made a profound impact on this man. This Gospel is read today in view of the catechumens (unbaptized) among us who will be baptized this coming Easter Vigil and receive the gift of seeing Christ. It will be a profound and moving moment for all of us to witness the gift of new sight imparted to our new brothers and sisters in Christ. Furthermore, we will praise God for what we see again with our eyes, the gift of life and love given to those who swear allegiance to the Son of God, who came into the world to save sinners.
May we ask again for the gift of a true vision of Christ. For this is truly the gift of sight we need. Let us ask him to touch our eyes so that we can see him again in the gift of the Church he has left us; so that we can see him again in the gift of each other; so that we can see him again in the gift of his body and blood; that we may see those who live with us and around us as those for whom Christ also died. Amen.
Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN. Prior to his uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org His website is: www.dennishankins.com