Week 4 – Fourth Sunday of Lent – Man Born Blind
4th Sun Lent A
1 Sm 16:1b,6-7,10-13a; Ps 23:1-6; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41
We might say it’s pretty obvious that all of today’s Scriptures have something to do with sight. We heard about ‘spiritual sight’ in God’s selection of King David through the prophet Samuel. In that story, Samuel learned that there’s a little more to “true vision” than just outward appearances.
True vision comes from knowing what we’re looking at. And knowing is more than just a surface view. Knowing penetrates the very heart and soul. And this kind of knowing is only possible through Love. When we can Love beyond outward appearances, then we’re beginning to truly see as God sees, ‘spiritually’.
In the story of the blind man we heard about ‘physical sight’. Just as God physically created Adam from the clay of the earth, Jesus physically recreated a living, seeing man with a little clay and water. And once that man discovered the beauty of ‘physical sight’, he quickly learned, through trial and testing, the truth of ‘spiritual sight.’ That truth, of course being, that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior. You see, God truly is the potter and we are, His visible and magnificent handiwork.
In our beloved Psalm 23, we’re reminded that Jesus, our shepherd, will provide us with both the ‘physical’ and ‘spiritual’ sight we need to guide us through the “dark valleys” of life. And St. Paul enlightens his readers and us, that in order to see anything, we must have Light. And the Light required to see the truth about Life, can only come through Jesus.
As we enter into this 4th week of Lent, let’s take a quick peek back at where we’ve been. In our first week, Jesus rewrote the Adam and Eve story by showing us that we can resist temptation, just as He did in the desert. And He’ll even help us do this, through the strength of the Holy Spirit.
In the Second week, Jesus showed the world in a very Divine way, that He truly is God, through His Transfiguration. And it was in this story that Peter’s words prefigured the fact, that after Pentecost (and through our baptisms), we become the “living tents” which house Jesus, within us.
Last week, we learned that Jesus can refresh our spiritual lives and the Light within us, through His life-giving water, just as he revived a Samaritan woman and her entire village. Yet beyond our baptisms, the very Scriptures we hear every Sunday and meditate upon throughout the week, become those life-giving waters for us. These are the waters that wash the clay from our eyes, just as they did for the blind man.
But you see, all of these stories and events simply prefigure the bigger picture, the “Greatest Story Ever Told,” the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Where Jesus will again be transfigured in the Eucharistic meal of the Passover, the ‘Last Supper’; where Jesus will again be tempted by Satan to give up on His mission, through His ‘Agony in the Garden’. And like the healed blind man’s interrogation by the Pharisees, Jesus will be the one to be put on trial, mocked and rejected by the religious leaders, and then scourged and crucified by a spineless political ruler.
And this time, Mary Magdalene will be the woman waiting at the “well” – of Jesus’ tomb. The raising of Lazarus from death in next week’s Scripture readings will prefigure Jesus’ own resurrection, as He brings that life-giving water of Himself back into the “land of the living”; a land where Mary Magdalene, His disciples and everyone will see and believe that Jesus truly is Lord and God.
On Palm Sunday we recollect Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, which prefigures His glorious ascension into Heaven. You see it was all clearly spelled out many, many times before it actually happened. Did we see it there? Do we see it now?
As we continue on our Lenten journey, with our eyes fixed on the cross, the ‘Greatest LOVE Story Ever Told,’ it is now, you and I, who can shine that Light of Christ, the Light of Love, in every dark corner of our world. It is we, who can wash away that clay from the eyes of every heavy-laden soul we meet. Because now, we have the true vision of Jesus fixed clearly in our sight.