The Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 26, 2017
Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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In today’s Gospel, Jesus cured a man who was born blind (Jn 9:1–41). For the very first time, the man saw colors, faces, sky and clouds, trees and birds. How different the world was after his encounter with Jesus! How great his joy and gratitude must have been!

People were amazed at what happened to him! However, many did not believe: “His neighbors and the people who used to see him before, when he was a beggar, said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one.’ Others said, ‘No but he looks like him.’ The man himself said, ‘I am the one.’” They could not accept that Jesus had performed a miracle and God was present in him. There is a similar prejudice in modern culture that relegates the divine to the sphere of subjectivity and fails to acknowledge God’s intervention in real history.

When the man who had been blind was brought to the Pharisees, their position became evident. They did not examine him attentively. They asked the man repeatedly: “‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He replied, ‘I have told you once and you wouldn’t listen.’” They were not listening. They did not acknowledge the miracle. They had already decided that it was impossible for Jesus to have cured the man.

The position of the formerly blind man was very different. When the Pharisees said to him that Jesus was a sinner and the miracle was impossible, he answered: “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; all I know is that I was blind and now I can see.” He responds by citing his own experience. He does not have any theory about Jesus. He only knows what happened to him. The man born blind was faithful to his experience of Jesus. He was a free man before the authority of the Pharisees, who banned him from the synagogue. Our personal experience of Jesus’ impact on our lives makes us free before any kind of authority. We are free if we retain the memory of our encounter with Christ.

In the second reading, Saint Paul says to the Ephesians: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Eph 5:8). The same miracle also happened to us. We, too, passed from darkness to light, as did the blind man. When did this happen? This happened on the day of our baptism. However, our blindness persists. It is hard for us to see that Jesus is present in our lives.

We share the modern attitude that God is remote. Certainly, we all believe in God. However, many times we live as if He did not exist or were of secondary importance. Our interests come first.

Why does this happen? Perhaps it is because we think that if we let God enter into our lives more, we’d risk losing something. Basically, we suspect that God is against us. This suspicion began with our first parents in Paradise.

We heard in the first reading that David was preferred, chosen, anointed and loved by God (cf. 1 Sm 16:12). We, too, were anointed at our baptism. We constantly need to rediscover the grace of our baptism. Jesus’ love makes it possible for us to conquer all the darkness that persists in our lives. Jesus’ love heals our blindness. Through him, we can discover the light that gives color and joy to everything.

Our encounter with Christ conquers our spiritual blindness. It brings a new light into our lives, a new vision of reality. After our encounter with Christ, our perceptions of ourselves, people and things change radically. We see in a way that we never saw before! We start sharing Jesus’ vision of reality.

Let us ask Jesus to heal our blindness and grant us His vision of reality! Amen.

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Sunday Reading Meditations