March 19, 2023 – Fourth Sunday of Lent
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/031923.cfm)
It was told once that a prisoner happened to escape prison by digging a hole underground. And it also happened that he came out into a playground few distances away from the prison. And in his great joy, before a group of playing kids, he shouted at the top of his voice, “Yesssss. I’m free. I’m free”. Then a little girl approached him and said with confidence, “Oh, mister that’s nothing, I’m four”.
Here is a prisoner, after long years of imprisonment, deprived of his freedom, now got a chance to be free: to do what he wants to do – to be what he wants to be. He finally now gains his freedom. However, here is a little girl, who witnessed the event differently because of her limited awareness. She is not concerned about his freedom at all, but only her being four years old.
We could say the same thing with our gospel today. Here, a great miracle has happened. A man born-blind has been healed of blindness. He can now see. After years in darkness, he can now see the light and become conscious of life – of everything. However, despite of this great event, people still refuse to see, refuse to accept the reality that a miracle has happened. They refuse to admit that life – creation has dawned upon them. In the midst of life & creation, their reaction is rejection – refusal to see. They don’t want to see and accept that the blind man can now see. They deny his sight and awareness and prefer he remains sightless and cursed blind man, same way as the girl is more concerned about her age than the prisoner’s freedom.
Freed from of his blindness, the man also viewed his healing differently. He said, “I don’t know if he is a sinner; I only know that I was blind and now I can see”. He doesn’t care of sinfulness or whether he or Jesus is a sinner, all he cares about is that he was blind and now gains sight through Jesus. For a blind man to gain sight is everything, just as for a prisoner his freedom and for a little girl her four years of age.
For the blind man, it is his redemption from cursed life of darkness. But for the Pharisees and people, it is a violation of Sabbath. Life has been created, God’s glory has been revealed, a man born-blind can now see… but all they can think of is the regulation about the Sabbath. They still refuse to see and believe in God’s glory and power revealed through Jesus.
Our readings today teach a number of lessons.
First, whatever happens in our lives whether it is a creation or reaction depends on how we see (phonetically sound as letter “C”) it. Whether things are C-reation or reaC-tion depends on how you C it. How we create life or how we react to life depends on how we view and see things. And most of the time, our own ponte vista – our point of views of reality hinder us to see a much wider perspective of things. Our limited biases and prejudices can block or blind us to see a much wider picture of life or even to view life in the eyes of faith, based on how God sees it.
Our readings today then are all about awareness, about how limited and how limiting our perspectives can be, about how we can be blinded by our own biases and prejudices.
Our readings remind us also that God’s perspective is different from us and much wider than our own view. He judges life not on appearances but by our hearts. Like in our gospel today, Jesus sees the blindness of the man differently, not as a sin or curse but as an opportunity for God’s grace to reveal and create life. For Jesus, the healing of the blind man is not as commonly perceived as curse but as God’s glory being revealed. He said, ‘so that works of God might be displayed in him’. For Jesus, the blind man is not a sinner but a saint, because God’s works and graces are made known through the blind gaining his sight. Through his healing, Jesus makes people aware of God’s blessings in our midst – that it is He whom we believe.
Lastly, we are called to widen our perspective of life, and try to see things, not only from our own eyes but also in the eyes of faith. As Christian, we are called today to go beyond our biases and prejudices, our own view of reality, and try to widen our perspective and try to see from God’s perspective, i.e. to be aware of God’s blessing, graces, miracles in our midst. We are invited to be like the blind man who after gaining his sight, now searches for his faith. Like him, we are to see not only physically but also spiritually. We are invited to change from blindness to sight toward faith, from being a cursed sinner to a staunch believer and loyal follower of Christ.
During this Lenten season, may God free us from darkness of sins, teach us to go beyond our perspective, and enlighten us to be creative, not reactive to the life-miracles He offers everyday. Amen.