The Fourth Sunday of Lent

Fourth Sunday of Lent March 26, 2017

Samuel 16, 1-7, 10-13 + Psalm 23 + Ephesians 5, 8-14 + John 9, 1-41

It is about sight not just about seeing. It is about the ability to perceive, understand and recognize what is seen. In these Gospel verses, the ones who can see are really the blind, and the one they call “blind” can see perfectly well. The Pharisees apparently had perfect eye sight, but they were certainly blind when it came to who was in their midst. What they remind us of is that blindness is not just a physical thing. It takes on many forms.

Selfishness blinds us to the needs of others. Insensitivity blinds us to the hurt we cause. Privilege blinds us to the equal dignity and rights of others. Pride blinds us to our own faults. Prejudice blinds us to the truth. Materialism blinds us to spiritual values, and superficiality blinds us to a person’s true worth leading us to judge by appearances. It is not just with the eye that we see. We also see with our mind and hearts; a little imagination doesn’t hurt either. A narrow mind and a hard heart left without imagination make for dark lives and a small world. It is bad enough to be born without eye sight, but to have eyes that do not see or refuse to see is a great tragedy, and the biggest players in that tragedy are theses Pharisees.

In John’s Gospel, there is often a play on darkness and light. Be attentive to that literary devise in the weeks to come. Things happen in the night that are deadly, violent and sinful. The things that happen in the day are full of hope, life and promise. Judas does his work at night. Peter denies at night. Much of the passion happens in the night, and then in the early morning, the Light of Christ appears. Today a man who has lived in darkness comes into the light while others in this story go deeper into the darkness because they refuse to see and believe. They are preoccupied with everyone’s sin but their own. They point a finger of accusation raising doubts about the truth and about a man who has come to believe.

Sisters and brothers, we are a people enlightened by Christ. Given a share in that light at our Baptism, we called from darkness into the light of faith. As that man washed in the pool of Siloam, so have we washed in the pool of Baptism. Standing and living in that light, we must speak the truth with courage and confidence in the face of a dark world that is blind to the presence of Christ; blinded by privilege, power, selfishness, materialism, and pride. What we seek in the Lenten season is the imagination to awaken to a new way of seeing all things and all people as a reflection of the loving God who created and called us his own. What we must desire in this season is the kind of heart and mind that honestly and humbly looks first at ourselves and our sin long before we even think about the sin of others. What we must pray for in this season is greater, stronger, and more daring faith that will make us bold enough to profess that faith in the one who has sent us with this Good News to challenge the darkness with the Light of Christ.

Father Tom Boyer