Fourth Sunday in Lent: “Proclamation of Profitable Vision”
Many are in isolation, but the world continues to turn and incense continues to be offered to our God for His name and for His glory. This is the Lord’s Day and we will worship Him.
The gospel today talks about a man, born blind, who was healed by Jesus. He represents all of us who may be spiritually blind. Jesus said in John 3:19, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” The judgment has already been passed but then even if the Light has come, men loved the darkness than the light.
A blind man wants to do necessary things. He needs to do chores, to go to places, and acquire needs for himself. In the process, he stumbles and falls because he cannot see. He inconveniences people and bumps into them, and probably hurts them and at the same time, hurting himself. Romans 10:2 says that Jews have zeal but not according to knowledge. The Jews were blind themselves so they thought they were doing God a service in persecuting Christians. St. Paul was like this, and we are still like this. He once was lost, now found. He was blind, but now he sees. It is all by the grace of God. When Paul found Jesus, Jesus told him, “Why are you persecuting Me? You cannot see Me that is why you are persecuting Me and My brothers.”
When we go against a goad, a stick that shepherds use to guide their sheep, it is hard, hurtful, and painful for us. When we hurt God’s people or our neighbor, we actually hurt ourselves. What we should do is to flatten the curve so that all of us our equal that the mountains may be lowered and the hills be exalted; that there will be no Greek nor Jew, slave or freeman, male or female, rich or poor, elite or underprivileged. All of us are God’s people.
In this time of seclusion, may we learn that what we do in deed affects other people. It is sad and unfortunate that this tiny virus makes us understand that what we do in deed affects others. When we protect others, we protect ourselves as well. Their sake is our sake. This is the truth and this is what the Church has been proclaiming. It is sad that it has to come to this crisis for us to realize this. No man stands alone. No man lives from himself. We are members of one Body, and Jesus made us one humanity. All of us have been blinded.
In the story, Jesus came to the blind man, and Jesus chose him. Same with St. Paul. He was on his way to kill the people of God. Jesus came to Him, and found Him. St. Paul didn’t choose Jesus, Jesus chose him. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost, so when Jesus finds us, may we respond, like the blind man, in humility. Listen to Him and follow Him.
Look at the unusual way that Jesus healed the blind man. Jesus simply said, “Be healed,” but Jesus spat on the ground and made clay out of the spit and the soil. Does this remind us of something when this thing happened? In creation? When God dirtied His hands and got some soil and fashioned man in creation, Jesus, in effect, is giving us a hint that when He heals our blindness, we are made a new creation. We are born again.
Jesus may have done it in an unconventional or disgusting manner but Jesus reminds us of our mortality. He even smeared the mud on the blind man’s eyes and even asked him to wash in the pool of Siloam which was a distance from where they were. It was as if Jesus was adding insult to the blind man. The blind man struggled, but yet obeyed in humility; and this is the reason he was able to see. His recovery of sight was not instant, but gradual. The new creation was just the beginning. Growth often involves struggle and doubt. For sure, the blind man doubted if Jesus was really the Messiah like what the people claimed He was, but yet, he obeyed despite his struggle.
The truth is Jesus was healing him. It is always easy to miss the truth even when it is right before our eyes. In the Old Testament reading, it was about David being chosen by God as king. Samuel, the prophet, the man of God who was supposed to see clearly, missed the truth in front of him. God spoke to Samuel to say that He doesn’t see as man sees. God does not look at popularity, at fame or power. We miss the truth because we have preconceived ideas and we think of certain ways according to our set ways. God doesn’t judge anymore because there was already the judgment. The judgment was that all men are blind; this is why He is doing something about the fatal result of judgment.
Recognize that God is healing us. We need to trust and obey just like the blind man. In making us a new creation, He may have to renovate us. In a house renovation, the structure is not torn down, but there are only certain areas that need to be moved to beautify the house. God is working in us! God is even working even now during our quarantine situation. What is He doing in us? What does He want us to see that is right before our eyes?
I was surprised to see an Imam, a Muslim teacher, in a video where he told a story of Jesus walking with His disciples where they saw a dead donkey. Like you and me probably, the disciples saw the bad. They said, “That stinks! That is disgusting!” They said all the negatives that they could say. Jesus said, “Look at its teeth. They are perfect!” He saw the good in the dead donkey.
In our situation right now, things are not pleasant. This is the truth and I don’t deny this; but there is good in this and in every other situation. God causes all things – good and bad – to work together for our good, toward our healing, so that we can be His perfect creation.
Let God work in us! Let God renew our mind. Let God restore us! Let God cause all things to work together for our good! May our eyes be opened so we can taste and see the goodness of the Lord even now, in times of trouble and crisis. This is what we will make us overcome and live life to the full. People may be sitting in the darkness and in the shadow of death. In Romans 8, St. Paul says, “I am convinced that the sufferings of this present time are nothing compared to the glory that is to be revealed.” This too shall pass and God is preparing something greater and glorious for us. We are not headed toward the extinction of the world not as long as Jesus is Lord! This is a momentary affliction! May we, as His children, prepare ourselves for this glory and let God do His work in opening our eyes that as we yield to Him, we offer the world hope. This is God’s will; this is what He is working on because this is the way it is in the kingdom of our God.