Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 26, 2017 / By: Fr. Patrick Tobin
What’s the matter with you?  Are you blind?!?!?!
1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a, Eph 5:8-14, Jn 9:1-41

Sadly, most of us have heard these words shouted at us at some point in time in our life.  The one shouting is convinced of their ability to see something and equally convinced that the other person is willfully choosing not to see.  Such a situation produces anger in the one who can see and resigned frustration in the one who cannot see.  Yet this isn’t really about the power of human sight.  How fruitless and cruel it would be to yell at a blind person for their inability to see!  Rather, it is about understanding and compliance.  The one who “sees” is the one who understands and demands the “blind” person acknowledge their error.  The one who “sees” is the one who has power and demands the “blind” person’s compliance.  This is precisely the situation we find in today’s Gospel!  

St. John uses physical sight and light and daytime as metaphors for understanding that Jesus is the Christ while blindness and dark and night denote a lack of understanding.  But John playfully turns the table so that the Pharisees who claim to see are blind and the blind man is the one who can actually see and confess Jesus as the Son of Man.  It is the blind man who starts out physically blind, who then physically sees and confesses that Jesus is a prophet, or a holy man who works for God, and who finally is able to not only physically see, but to know Jesus as the Son of God.

 Who are we in this story of belief and unbelief?  Do you help others to find God yet resist someone else giving you correction or insight into God?  Such a one is like the Pharisee.  Are you convinced of God’s presence in the world and in good people, but cannot see Christ in the sinful, the poor, or the stranger?  Such a one is like the blind man whom God’s grace has healed, but whose sight is still limited.  The truth is that few of us shall ever reach the perfection of the saints who are able to see Christ in the priest, the poor, the sorrowful, the lost, the sick, the imprisoned, the good, the wealthy, the healthy, the joyful, or the generous.  And yet the joy of our Lenten journey is that we continue to try.

Fr. Patrick Tobin, OP
Office for Campus Ministry