Fourth Sunday of Lent
Reading 1 1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A
Reading 2 EPH 5:8-14
Gospel JN 9:1-41
"Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart."
'Never judge a book by its cover'; I've heard this so many times and said it almost as much and yet I need the reminder that God has to give Samuel: the Lord looks into the heart.
What does a king, an emperor, a president look like? We all have our opinions and we make judgements based on what we see or hear and maybe what we like about them is a reflection of what is in our heart.
Today's Gospel gives us the account of the man born blind. All the readings speak today of vision: sight, insight and foresight or the lack thereof: blindness. Jesus had to add to address blindness and it is important to notice the order in which he does it.
The first is blindness due to ignorance. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" It was the prevailing thought at the time. His blindness or any such afflictions were a sign of sinfulness. But St. Paul tells us in the second reading that Christ, the Light will give you light. Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. And he heals the man with clay made of the earth and spittle. A new creation for Genesis tells us that God formed man from the clay. The man sees and he gains his sight and now he also gains insight; his testimony grows from 'the man, Jesus' to 'prophet' to 'Son of Man' to 'Lord'.
He also gained foresight; "He said, "I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him. Yes he worshipped the Son of God even before the glory of the resurrection.
And then there is blindness due to deliberate stubbornness. Not just a lack of sight but a total lack of vision: no sight, insight or foresight. The disciples believed, the healed man worshipped, his parents saw as did the people of the town. All believed except the Pharisees: there are none so blind as those who will not see. How can you be blinded by the Law when it was given in anticipation of the coming of the Son of Man?
They still saw only a man born "totally in sin" , threw him out of the synagogue and in doing so rejected the son of man in their midst. Eyes open but heart closed.
And so to them Jesus could only answer "but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains."
Are our eyes open and our hearts closed? This Lent let us pray the words of a popular song:
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see you.
To see you high and lifted up
Shining in the light of your Glory
Pour out your power and love
As we sing 'holy, holy holy'
When God looks into our heart does he see the reflection of his Son?
The Season of Lent is a special time for us to slow down, look inward and make the necessary changes to truly become an Easter people.