Fourth Sunday of Lent


When you read the story of the person known only as "the man born blind." Jesus is in Jerusalem, having made his way there for what would be the last days of his life. This story takes place perhaps a week or two before holy week.

As Jesus makes his way through the city, he sees this blind man, no doubt begging for money. So the disciples ask, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" They did not see a person in need, but a curiosity.

Our Lord spits on the ground, makes a gooey paste, and smears it on the man's eyes, instructing him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. So now this man, blinder now than ever, feels his way along the street's cold stones, asking everyone for help to the pool. And when he splashes his face with Siloam's water, he sees. For the first time in his life, light fills his eyes with color and texture, wonder and beauty.

But what about us, what if this man's blindness is something that each one of us has? What are the things that we are blind to? Have people told us that what we are looking for is right in front of our eyes.

We even refuse to see what God calls us to see in ourselves and others. That we are made in the image of God. We are Temples of the Holy Spirit.

Have you ever noticed how often we say to others, "You just don't see the point!" Or, "I give up; you refuse to see the truth!" Many times, we leave more than a few conversations dangling in the darkness. Of all the gifts our Lord offers us in this holy Lent, the gift of sight surely hovers at or near the top. And what is it that God would have us see if we could name and be freed of our blindness? For the first time, we might actually see that the person who may have deeply hurt us is crippled by an inner hatred of themselves, that comes out as meanness. Look in the mirror of this blind man's life and see yourself, handicapped by a deep darkness that only God can change.

Second question: Why do we, like the disciples, choose to debate the causes of our blindness? This one's easy: it's much safer to argue about a problem, even one as crippling and brutal as blindness, than to accept as a gift God's changing grace. The story suggests that the disciples and others in the story had a blindness much darker, much more crippling than the man given sight.

We can be tempted to debate why there is so much hatred, mistrust, evil, and terror in our world. But it won’t get us anywhere.

This holy season of Lent calls us to drop all arguments and rely on faith. It was absurd for someone to spit on the ground to make another see .

Simple faith is trusting that grace will lift the darkness of our lives. This gift offers forgiveness, extends reconciliation, and calls us to be a people of mercy and hope.

In these few days left before holy week, name the blindness, receive the gift of sight, and celebrate the miracle that could change our lives.