More Sight or More Blindness? Yes. (Homily Notes for the 4th Sunday of Lent)

The Man Born Blind by Brian Jekel
The Man Born Blind by Brian Jekel

When we get right down to it, this Gospel is meant to shake us – not shake us with fear, but shake us with the kind of joy that ought change our lives.

We see a twin movement in today’s Gospel: the man who was born blind moves from blindness to sight; Jesus’ opponents move from sight to blindness.

This isn’t just a simple process, however, because Jesus is not simply interested in physical sight: this Gospel is told in such a way that we see sight coming in stages:

–       first, the blind man receives his physical sight;

–       then, he reconnects with his community – the community that would have isolated him because either he or his parents had certainly done something terrible to be blind from birth;

–       the man, having his sight restored, then goes to the religious community, attempting to reconcile himself with those who represent God;

–       and then – most importantly – the man gains the sight that matters: he meets Jesus who is not only the source of his healing, but also the source of his life — Jesus is the Chosen One, the Son of Man, the One Who God has Sent into the world so that all may see;

 But it’s not all positive news: on the other hand, the Pharisees grow in blindness throughout the story:

–       The Pharisees close their eyes to the good news of the man who has been healed

–       Then, they close their eyes to the testimony of the parents, turning into bullies

–       And finally they throw the healed man out – they have completely shut their eyes to what God is up to!

The question in all of this comes: where are we growing in sight and where are we getting blinder?  It’s not as clean cut as in this story – in fact, chances are that all of us here are growing in sight in some places, but growing blinder in others.

Today’s Gospel is an invitation from the Lord to consider where we are getting blinder – and where we are seeing more clearly.

The reason for this is found in the very beginning of the Gospel – “We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day.”

 You and I are called – regardless of where we’re blind, to continue to move toward sight and to open the eyes of others – we are called to do the works of God in our community, in our families.

This a process of continually growth – we’ll never totally be ready to  say, “Yes, we can see!” or “No, we’re blind!”  It reminds of me a constant problem I’d run into as a kid when I’d Easter candy or something like that.  I’d want to save the chocolate rabbit until just the right moment – I’d wait so long the candy would get stale and be good for nothing.  In other words, there’s no such thing as a perfect time to meet Jesus, nor is there a perfect time to be about the world of the one who sent us.

And so, let us go about this week with our eyes growing in sight as we meet Christ in others; and for the rest of this liturgy, let us bring those places of blindness to the Lord and ask him to open our eyes once again.


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