March 19, 2023
4th Sunday of Lent
FOCUS: Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness.
Sometimes doing God’s will can seem strange, foolish, or even wrong to others. Jesse assumed his youngest son couldn’t be the next king, so David was left to care for the sheep when Samuel came. The Pharisees thought Jesus sinned by healing on the sabbath. Are we preoccupied with what others will think, or are we focusing on doing God’s will?
What's in Your Heart
The gospel this week seems to ask, “Who is the real sinner?” The man born blind from birth? Jesus who heals on the sabbath? Or those who fail to see the Light of the World?
Have religious customs and laws ever hindered you from being merciful or seeing the presence of God?
I was at a friend's house, and his young son was doing a school project on a topic I happen to know something about. I offered my assistance, and at first the son seemed to welcome any help he could get. But every time I tried to tell him something new he interrupted by saying, "I know, I know." He said it even when it was clear he didn't know quite as much as he thought he did.
Jesus ran into that same attitude with the Pharisees, who were quite upset when Jesus gave a blind man sight. This miracle didn't jibe with what they already "knew" about how God works in the world. And so, rather than learning something new about God—that he longs for our healing and wholeness—they closed their minds and, in effect, kept saying, "I know, I know!" They were sure the man's blindness had been caused by sin, yet they were unwilling to consider that their own spiritual blindness might be a result of their own sin of pride.
Spiritual growth requires that we employ what Zen practitioners call "beginner's mind." This is the attitude that is aware of its limitations and open to new truths and surprises. Lent is a good time to cultivate beginner's mind. It's a time to see ourselves and the world not with our own prejudices but as God sees—as worthy of help and healing and love.
Vision is the art of seeing things invisible to others.
—Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
You, too, should come to Siloam, that is, to him who was sent by the Father . . . . Let Christ wash you and you will then see.
—Saint Ambrose of Milan