Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Lent
(Scriptures for today's Mass)
Audio for homily
As with all of Jesus’ miracles,
the cure itself here is not the point.
Rather, Jesus’ purpose is to point to a deeper reality:
light and darkness, sight and blindness
in the mind, in the heart, in the spirit, in the soul.
Except for the very wise among us
- and some among us are wise indeed -
most of us simply believe what we see
and spend not much time pondering
how we see what we see,
or what we fail to see,
or what we refuse to see,
or what we see only because it’s what we want to see.
We tend to trust what we see, the way we see it
and believe what we see, the way we see it to be true.
That’s just how the Pharisees looked at things.
Standing before them was a man born blind who now could see.
But they could not see how this came to be.
Or how Jesus could have done this.
They were blind to how this man born blind came to see.
They refused to see what was right before their eyes.
Many things blind us to what’s right in front of us.
Many things cloud our vision of what’s within arm’s reach.
Many things tempt us to see what’s not really there
or to fail to see what’s right in our face.
The questions this story poses, then, are these:
“Do I see?
Or do I suffer from some spiritual blindness?
Through what eyes do I see?
Through whose eyes do I see?
Do I trust only what I see, the way I see it?
Can I acknowledge that there may be another way
of seeing what I see?
Can I admit that perhaps God sees some people, some situations,
some realities differently than how I see them?
Is it possible that my own eyes might lie to me?
Do my mind and heart need glasses?
Does my soul’s vision need correction?
Could it be that the world as I see it
may not quite be the world as it is?
Could it be that God, as I see God,
may not quite be God, as God is?”
Our culture tells us that each individual’s sight is infallible.
It tells me that whatever I see to be true is true for me.
when we were convinced that our vision of the universe was 20-20 –
and that regards most other things,
most adults were legally blind.
Unfortunately, decades later,
we too often still trust what these very fallible eyes of ours tell us.
It’s so easy to rely on what I see or think I see
and so very often what my myopic eyes tell me, is unreliable.
Those among us who see most clearly
are those who understand that even with eyes-wide-open
we can often be blind.
and that we often see most clearly
when our eyes are closed to our own autonomy.
We live in a world infallibly convinced of the truth of its own vision
and yet much of what we’ve made of this world
resembles the work of those who labored in complete darkness,
their eyes closed to the light of truth.
Indeed, we may need to be wakened from a dark sleep
a sleep dark and deep enough to blind us
to the darkness all around us, the darkness in which we live.
Only those who come to know the light of truth
can recognize the darkness when they encounter it.
None are so spiritually blind
as those who are blind to their own blindness.
To seek the light; to peer through the eyes of God;
to refract what we see through the prism of God’s word;
to color our vision with the wisdom of tradition and truth:
therein lies the cure for the blindness we often fail to see.
The light of faith helps us know our own blindness;
and opens our eyes to what is real and true.
Eyes of faith read these scriptures
and see the Word made flesh.
Eyes of faith look at this table
and see an altar of sacrifice.
Eyes of faith see bread and wine
and behold the Body and Blood of Christ.
Eyes of faith see the food of the Lord’s Supper
and meet the risen One made visible in the Eucharist.
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