The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, from my vantage point, appear to coalesce naturally around the twin themes of light and sight, or conversely darkness and blindness. We have The Good Shepherd who guides us in right paths and we have nothing to fear for He is our Repose, our Protector, the Giver of goodness and kindness. Let us heed the words of Saint Paul and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord, courageously exposing the darkness in ourselves and the world, and allowing the healing LORD to shine His light into our darkest recesses and heal our spiritual blindness.
Works of God Made Visible
In the Gospel, Jesus restores sight to the man born blind, a good and kindly deed that provokes stark responses from the multitude: stubbornly disbelieving Pharisees, the grateful and harried man born blind, his terrified parents and sundry disciples and others, mostly questioning and observing. Before the healing, his disciples question if the man was born blind owing to sin to which Jesus replies in the negative, rather pointing out that it was “so that the works of God might be made visible through him”. Consider the mighty signs and wonders that are recorded in the Bible and in tradition and in the shared memory of the Holy Church, all of these are the works of God made visible. Right down to the present age, where many miracles and healings are performed in the name of the LORD. This is also a reminder to us that we should speedily do what is pleasing to the Lord. We have two weeks left in Lent, let us continue spreading goodness and kindness, sweetness, and light to all in our path.
From Darkness to Light
As a redeemed people, we who lived in, and often return to, have become children of Light, because of Jesus Christ who ransomed us with His precious blood. We need not fear the traumas of our sinful past or present, instead we need to expose it all to the Light. What, you say? Shouldn’t this be quashed and buried or swept under a carpet? A resounding No! That’s what the evil one would advise, see no harm done, just an apple, good for nourishment and pleasing to the eye. Which only ushered in eternal damnation, nothing to see, right? Wrong. That’s how the Deceiver-in-Chief works.
Instead, we need to confront our darkness head on, painful as it may sound. Don’t try this alone, though. Make sure to have a good confessor in your corner, then add a competent Spiritual Director, preferably a priest or trained guide, and most definitely, recruit your guardian angel. In fact, ask the latter to help identify said darkness within. He will! Why should I do this, you ask? Saint Paul answers: Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. Eph 5:14
Remember always the words of Jesus: And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be. – Mat 6:23
Do You Believe in the Son of Man?
The gyrations of the Pharisees culminate in shouted words of condemnation and expulsion of the hapless blind man from their sanctimonious presence. Jesus seeks the latest recipient of His healing touch and asks him a key question: Do you believe in the Son of Man?
Echoes of Jesus’s question to the apostles: And who do you say that I am?
During Lent, we should ponder these questions.
Dr. Peter Kreeft puts it this way. Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic or LORD.
It is perhaps easier for the recipient of a miracle to profess belief in Jesus. And fall to their knees in worship. Do we believe? Do we believe in Him and do we believe Him? Even the demons believe in Jesus, so it’s not enough to believe IN Jesus, we also need to believe Jesus. The Light of the World, the Eternal Word made flesh, the Good Shepherd performs a daily miracle for us. Through the Holy Eucharist, He makes us whole so that we can be holy. Amen, I do believe, LORD. Help my unbelief.