In the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, God's Word pierces mankind's darkness and reveals a light that will always shine for those who walk in it.
In the first reading, God chooses one of Jesse's sons to be king. While Jesse presents seven sons, God doesn't choose any of them. God tells Samuel, "Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."
When Samuel asks Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" Jesse replied, "There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep." Samuel said to Jesse, "Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here."
Since seven is the perfect number, it's easy to imagine that Jesse was very proud to present these seven sons to Samuel. Yet the Lord chose the eighth son, who wasn't even invited to the banquet. God works outside of human wisdom. Christ arose from the dead, not on the first day of the week, nor the seventh, which was also the Sabbath, but on the eight day. He introduced a new dimension into history. God always seems to be working in another dimension of time. God gave the prophet Samuel the light to choose a man after the heart of God.
In the second reading, Paul recalls that the Ephesians at one time walked in the darkness of sin but now walk in the light of the Lord. "Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth."
The Gospel presents the remarkable story of the man born blind. When the disciples ask why this man was born blind, Jesus responded, "It is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. ... I have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Already Jesus is opening the eyes of His disciples to the spiritual world. Once night comes, the time of choosing light or darkness will be over.
All of this is a prelude to the healing of the blind man. The physical healing isn't nearly as miraculous as the spiritual healing he is about to experience. As soon as the man born blind returns from the pool of Siloam and is able to see, his witnessing begins. The neighbors who knew him are confused and ask, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?" For people walking in darkness, the light of Christ is always confusing.
The blind man tells them that he is the one they saw blind and begging. They take this man and present him to the Pharisees who are confused. On the one hand, they insisted that it is unlawful to heal on the Sabbath, but on the other hand they admit, "How can a sinful man do such signs?"
The more the blind man comes into the light, the more the Pharisees are plunged into darkness. In their confusion, the Pharisees seek help from the parents, but the parents are afraid of being excluded from the synagogue, so they defer the question back to their son.
Now the man born blind becomes an evangelist for Jesus. The Pharisees say to him, "Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner." More light comes forth from the man healed of blindness: "If He is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see."
When they continue to harass him, the man born blind tells them, "I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become His disciples, too?" Eventually, they can't take the light coming from this man, now born into spiritual light, so they throw him out of the synagogue.
Jesus seeks out the man thrown out of the synagogue, and says, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" The man replies"Who is He, sir, that I may believe in Him?" When Jesus reveals Himself as the Son of Man, the man responds, "I do believe, Lord."
When the Pharisees hear Jesus say this, they ask, "Surely we are not also blind, are we?" Jesus says, "If you were blind, you would have no sin, but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains."
We're all born blind.
"Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart." We all walk in the appearances we create.
When we judge others for sinning differently than we do, we choose blindness. When we hold on to negative thinking, unforgiveness, lust, self-indulgence, anger and resentment, we're choosing blindness. We choose blindness every time we don't love others as God loves them. We choose blindness every time we deny our sins. Like the Pharisees, we create appearances in which we choose to walk.
Simply trying harder or condemning ourselves won't help; these choices only make us blinder. Jesus is the only one who can give us sight, and so we must humble ourselves and ask Him. Our cry to Jesus should be, "Lord, I want to see. Show me my sins. I want to come into the light. Lord, I give you permission to convict me of my sins." RELATED ARTICLE(S):I thought you should know | The forgiveness of sins is more than a private matter