March 22, 2020
Fourth Sunday in Lent
Dear Believers in the Christ,
The Lenten journey takes us on the path where we meet a blind man in John 9:1-41. Last week we met the Woman at the Well. She invited us into the central image of our baptism; water of course. Today, blindness, sight and insight, are also images of baptism from the early Church. After all, baptism is a new way of seeing the world. If only we could really see the beauty of our relationship with Christ and see the beauty of his followers. Baptism changes are worldly and spiritual views. We are never alone in God, for we belong to him and we rest at his side. This is what I want to see, to really see with my own heart.
Jesus walks along and sees this man blind from birth. In those days, such disability was usually associated with sin. It must have been sin if the man was less than perfect. Of course, today, we do not connect sin and disability. Disability is sheer humanity for we are all in need of new life. Sometimes things just don’t work out as we once planned.
We may come to understand our need for God when we know our own blindness, our stubbornness of sight, and our inability to see from the perspectives of strangers. We are all blind in countless ways. We can’t see when our entire vision is only upon ourselves. Blindness so often comes from being self-absorbed, from our selfishness, and our ignorance. We are blind when we think we possess all the answers in life, when we rage at those with varying opinions or when we think prejudice is justified. Blindness speaks volumes.
Jesus touches him. Not with clean hands, but with his own salvia and clay. He creates a messy compress to place on his eyes. He applies this healing mixture with gentleness. He touches his disability with such care and tenderness. Jesus cares for him through touch. He lays his hands on him in a lovely mixture of earth, saliva and humanness. I don’t know about you, but I want Jesus to touch my blindness in such a way. I wait to feel his hand on my eyes and my cheek. I want his fingers to rub hope deeply upon my skin and into my soul. I am blind, just like everyone else.
Jesus invokes squawking of the elders by healing a man on the Sabbath. Here is another example where Jesus is teaching us that people are more important than the rules of religion. He wants others to see the beauty of his man who now has vision. This vision also teaches others who are blind about who Jesus really is. No matter our lives of faith, we must be willing to see that nothing stands in the way of Jesus touching our humanity. Blindness becomes a vehicle for us to see Jesus. Our blindness may very well become the way in which we can view our mistakes, our sins, our wrong doings and our emotional stumbling blocks, in a new vision of Jesus’ love for us. If we could only see the truth that Jesus has for us in him. In Lent, blindness becomes a gift.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he.” He said,
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
We are on the journey, engaged in our spiritual quest, for sight and insight. This is the Lenten season, our ability to truly see.