Sunday, March 22, 2020

+ 4th Lent A +

This gospel challenges each of us. This time of pandemic will bring out the best and the worst in our community, our Church, our nation. We think we see clearly. We don’t realize how blind we are.

What we see “out there” is conditioned by the lenses we wear: early childhood experiences. Cultural assumptions about ourselves and others around ethnicity, gender, class, orientation, culture, religion.

The supreme leader himself insists on calling the coronavirus the Chinese virus. Never pass up the chance to blame others.

How easily we invent absolutes quoting the Bible or the “natural law” to put people into categories: like us, not like us; peer or inferior, friend or enemy, tolerated or dangerous—alien.

We only see—that is, take in, identify, accept—those things we are prepared to face. The less we know ourselves, the less we see what is around us and the more we act blindly.

Some folks are perfectly happy to be lied to and to exclude any other information that might call into question the veracity and competence of those who govern.

I confess that some of that some of my stronger opinions serve to protect myself from feeling overwhelmed or inadequate.

We can all lose our peripheral vision, our ability to see our lives in the broader, deeper context of God’s judgment, God’s creative love and God’s healing compassion.

Both disciple and Pharisee look down on the blind man. He or his parents must have done something to deserve it. Why should he be helped?

After all, doesn’t God reward the upright and make them prosper—like us? Didn’t Jesus warn us with inside information to sell our stock before the crash?

Survival of the fittest. Sell the masks to the highest bidder—just like the policy of the British government during the potato famine.

God’s judgment is far different and better than ours. He is still creating us. Today he starts from scratch with the clay from which Adam was formed.

The blindness was not a punishment or a meaningless random occurrence. This man has been created so that the “works of God might be revealed through him.”

You and I, whatever the particulars of our lives, in this pandemic, have been created so that the works of God might be revealed through us.

We have to ask to see ourselves as God sees us. Seeing, he continues to choose us, to seekafter us, creating and re-creating us though, in the person of Jesus. It costs God everything.

He who is Light from Light ever hopes that we will allow him to enlighten us about how much we are in the dark about ourselves, about how much we block the light of God’s love and resist grace.

Our blindness—ignorant or willful—fuels and hands on the egotism and selfishness present in all of our social structures. Sin is pushing away those God has come to gather. Those who sin like this are blind indeed—and they make very poor leaders.

The true daughters and sons of God are those who see what God is doing and willingly labor with the Son to make the works of God seen by serving others. Now is the time to see what really matters.

Am I willing to be re-formed? Am I asking to have my own blindness enlightened?

Am I willing to let the rejection I have endured turn me into a person who gathers with the Lord? Will I let gratitude make me courageous?

I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.

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