Fourth Sunday of Lent: Sight

Do you want to see? Today’s Gospel (from Year A, which is also optional for Years B and C) is the story of the healing of the man born blind. He had suffered greatly throughout his life, but that suffering helped to make him the man he was. It’s clear from the story that this poor, blind outcast of society was also very virtuous. He was humble, respectful, sincere, simple, and honest. Though we do not know how he would have turned out if he were not born blind, we do know a little about him as a blind man.

When someone is born blind or with any physical defect, the immediate response is often one of disappointment and pity. Though this response might come from a compassionate heart, it might also be the result of a failure to see the many blessings that come through hardship. Let’s look at some of the clear good fruit that resulted from this man’s years of blindness.

First of all, this man is humble and respectful. He refers to Jesus as “sir” and treats our Lord with much kindness, even before he knows Who Jesus is and what He is about to do for him. The man is also docile and honest with the Pharisees who disrespect him as they interrogate him. He is honest with them in a respectful way and does not allow himself to be intimidated by their veiled threats but acts courageously and sincerely with integrity. In the end, the Pharisees threw him out of the synagogue because of his honesty with them. After that, Jesus invites him to have faith, and the now-cured blind man responds by worshiping our Lord. Thus, the deeper gift this man was given was the invitation to respond to God in faith. When he did, the eyes of his soul were also opened, and he was forever changed.

Lent must be a time in which we all consider the blindness of our own souls. Some people have many natural gifts. They are smart, talented, successful, and carry no serious physical defects; yet, they remain blind to the supernatural truths of faith. Others have suffered greatly in life, and as a result, their hearts are humble and disposed to accept the gift of faith more fully. Whether or not you are talented, smart, gifted, privileged, free of physical defects, or successful, the humble disposition of your heart must be like that of this blind man. He is the model for how we should live. He is the model of openness to God and exemplifies for us how we are to come to faith in God and worship Him.

Ponder the people you admire the most in this world and seek to imitate. Too often, we elevate those who are held up by the secular world, rather than the humble, sincere, docile, and faith-filled souls. Who do you want to be most like? Could this blind man be a true role model for you? Are you drawn to his humble, sincere, honest, and docile qualities? Can you see the blessings he had as a result of his lifelong struggle with being blind? Or do you normally choose other role models who fail to exemplify the purity of a faithful heart? This Gospel story is read in the middle of Lent for a reason. Our Lord wants each of us to look up to this blind man and imitate him as a model of the people we are called to be.

Most glorious Lord, You seek out those who are humble of heart, open to the gift of faith, and willing to offer You the worship that is due Your name. Thank You for placing before me this poor and humble blind man as a model for me to follow. May I seek to imitate him so that I, too, will come to see You as You are and worship You with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.

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