Can you see?

The blind man in this Sunday’s Gospel is an endearing figure.  Jesus uses him to teach many lessons. 

First, illness/injury is not connected to sin.  The disciples ask, “Who sinned that this man was born blind, him or his parents?”  Jesus says neither he nor his parents caused his blindness by sinning.  

God is not a punishing God, even though many Christians and Jews had an avenging God drummed into them by institutional religions for political reasons, one of which was to keep people coming to the institution.  This quid pro quo portrayal of God is so, so difficult to overcome and be healed from.  May we all experience this ongoing healing.

Second, Jesus says, neither his nor his parents’ sins cause his blindness AND God can draw something good from the situation.  Jesus is teaching us that some things that happen are outside our control.  And so, banging our heads against the wall of “why did this happen to me?” is a waste of energy.   The more useful approach is solving the question:  “how am I going to go about living with this unwanted thing that I have?”  In this instance, Jesus cures the man’s blindness; however, in many instances there is no physical cure, only a change in one’s heart response and attitude that can make life more livable.  You may have heard me (Ron) talk about the man with terminal cancer who was taken off the ventilator/respirator and his first words were, “I am the luckiest person in the world: so many people love me, I’m getting wonderful care…”

Third, Jesus says, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the World.”  I had never noticed the word “while” before.   I knew that Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World” (Jn. 9:5) and “you are the Light of the World.” (Mt. 5:14.)  However, I never attended to the “while” before.  The implication is,                                   While I (Jesus) am in the world, I am the Light of the World.  When I go from this world, I am depending on you, my followers, to be the Light of the World.  Teresa of Avila would portray Jesus saying, “I have no hands, no heart but yours.” 

Fourth, Jesus contrasts physical blindness and spiritual blindness.  Although this man was physically blind,  he had spiritual sight!  He SAW Jesus!   The religious leaders physically saw Jesus but were spiritually blind to “seeing” Jesus.   In what ways am I spiritually blind?  When do I not see someone else as my human sister or brother?   Mary Oliver  wondered if she knew how to pray.  She said, “I do know how to pay attention.”  She could see to the heart of things. Spiritual “sight” goes beyond the physical and ‘sees’ into the depth…the core…of people and all creation.  How can we see more deeply?

Fifth, a sense of humor helps us keep our sanity.  I love the blind man’s sense of humor.  When the religious leaders keep asking how he came to see, he responded, “I already told you how it happened.  You keep asking me; is it because you too want to become his followers?  When they insist that Jesus is a sinner, the formerly blind man says, “this is curious, you say that you do not know where Jesus is from, yet he opened my eyes, if he was from God, he could not have done that.”

Sixth, the religious leaders end up “excommunicating” the blind man.  This tool of excommunication is often used (in the Church and on political borders.)  Jesus finds the man and  builds a bridge to him, accepts him, values him.  That is what you and I are meant to do.

These are challenging days, and we’ve only begun our journey into the Covid-19 crisis.   As difficult as it is to let go of so many important and meaningful activities, we are considering the necessary curtailing of activities and appointment, trips and commitments as a time of Sabbath.  Sabbath well lived invites us, and provides space for us, to “not do” but rather “to be” quieter, less busy, more reflective….a blessing that we do not seem to allow ourselves in a time of ‘normalcy.’    

We hope that you are able to join us for this Sunday Liturgy….and pray that you and your loved ones experience genuine peace of mind and heart, and remain in good health during this challenging time. 

Loving blessings,

Jean & Ron

                                                                                                       

Rev.Jean Marie Marchant, M.Div., D.Min.

Rev. Ron Hindelang, STL, PhD

The Spirit of Life:  A Catholic Community of Justice & Joy

Church:  130 Newton St., Weston, MA 02493

Home:  405 Edmands Rd., Framingham, MA  01701

www.spiritoflifecommunity.org

508-877-6090

Gathering Song    "Christ be our Light"    Bernadette Farrell

Longing for light, we wait in darkness, longing for truth, we turn to you.                                                                                                                                                                                              Make us your own, your holy people, light for the world to see.

Refrain: Christ be our light! Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness.                                                                                                                                                                                                   Christ be our light! Shine in your Church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled, longing for hope, many despair.                                                                                                                                                                                                        Your word alone has power to save us.  Make us your living voice.  Refrain

Longing for food, many are hungry, longing for water, many still thirst.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Make us your bread, broken for others, shared until all are fed. Refrain

Longing for shelter, many are homeless, longing for warmth, many are cold.                                                                                                                                                                                           Make us your building sheltering others, walls made of living stones.  Refrain

Many the gifts many the people, many the hearts that yearn to belong.                                                                                                                                                                                                             Let us be servants to one another, making your kin-dom come.  Refrain

Responsorial Song:   "My Shepherd is the Lord"   Gelineau

(response)     My Shepherd is the Lord, nothing indeed shall I want

My Shepherd is the Lord there is nothing I shall want
Fresh and green are the pastures where He gives me repose
Near restful waters He leads me to revive my drooping spirit

He guides me along the right path, He is true to His name
Though I walk in the valley of darkness no evil will I fear
You are there with Your crook and You staff
with these You give me comfort

You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes
My head You have anointed with oil,   my cup is overflowing

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life
In the Lord's own house shall I dwell forever and ever

Sending Forth Song    "Lean in toward the Light"       Carrie Newcomer

Winter is the oldest season
But quietly beneath the snow
Seeds are stretching out and reaching
Faithful as the morning glow

Carry nothing but what you must
Lean in toward the Light
Let it go, shake off the dust
Lean in toward the Light
Today is now, tomorrow beckons
Lean in toward the Light
Keep practicing resurrection

The shadows of this world will say
There's no hope why try anyway?
But every kindness large or slight
Shifts the balance toward the light

Waters wind and open wide
Lean in toward the Light
Don't just walk when you can fly
Lean in toward the Light
When justice seems in short supply
Lean in toward the Light
Let beauty be your truest guide

The shadows of this world will say
There's no hope why try anyway?
But every kindness large or slight
Shifts the balance toward the light

The prayer I pray at eventide
Lean in toward the Light
All left undone be put aside
Lean in toward the Light

When forgiveness is hard to find
Lean in toward the Light
Help me at least to be kind
Lean in toward the Light