Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Lent Year A 2023
Psychologists tell us that almost all children experience the fear of the dark sometimes in their childhood. It is a common experience that all humans share regardless of culture. It is partly because of the fear of the unknown. Most people have had nightmares or night terrors when they experienced the paralyzingly fear of an evil that could not be alright and that we really had nothing to fear. Every culture in the world relays this experience with stories from their traditions that reflect the struggle of epic proportion between light and darkness. The darkness is always portrayed as evil and the light is alway portrayed as good.
Jesus confronts that image in today’s Gospel and tells us that darkness or blindness is not always evil, and light or sight is not always good. The Pharisees tried to attach some evil to the man’s blindness. Jesus contended that there was no evil in the man’s blindness. The real evil that Jesus confronted was the blindness of those who refused to see the truth. Jesus knew that they could see the light and the truth. Jesus used the blindness of the beggar to reveal the truth that his Father was a source of true light, and that while he was in the world Jesus was the light.
What we have to fear is not the physical experience of darkness, but the spiritual darkness that we keep in our lives, the blindness to what is good and true. The evil we should fear is the evil that remains in our lives when we are blinded by prejudice or racism, sexism or poverty we place ourselves in the darkness. We often develop great reasons for the narrowness of our vision. We may say that the poor cause their own condition. We may believe that AIDS is a personal punishment for sin. We sometimes exclude others from our concern because of their economic status, social class or the color of their skin. We even, at times, mock the ancestry of others. We fuel the battle of the sexes. We develop the noblest of reasons for doing all of these things. These are all blindness in our lives that we must allow Jesus to cure with his light.
Jesus is reminding us like he reminded the Pharisees that there is no sin in being blind. The only sin is in refusing to let Jesus help us see our blindness and let him open our eyes. Each time we gather to celebrate the Holy Eucharist we begin by admitting our blindness to each other and to God. We are like an alcoholic at an AA meeting who stands and admits an addiction to alcohol. We admit our blindness and our sin so that we, like the alcoholic, may take the first step toward recovery and insight. We, like the alcoholic, turn our lives over to a higher power so that we might see the world through God’s eyes rather than ours.
May God bless you
Your brother in Christ