Sunday, March 26
Fourth Sunday of Lent
John 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,
and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him,
“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” – which means Sent -.
So he went and washed, and came back able to see.
His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,
“Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?”
Some said, “It is, ”
but others said, “No, he just looks like him.”
He said, “I am.”
They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.
Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath.
So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see.
He said to them,
“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”
So some of the Pharisees said,
“This man is not from God,
because he does not keep the sabbath.”
But others said,
“How can a sinful man do such signs?”
And there was a division among them.
So they said to the blind man again,
“What do you have to say about him,
since he opened your eyes?”
He said, “He is a prophet.”
They answered and said to him,
“You were born totally in sin,
and are you trying to teach us?”
Then they threw him out.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,
he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
He answered and said,
“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
Jesus said to him,
“You have seen him, and
the one speaking with you is he.”
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
In today’s Gospel, we hear the story of the healing of the blind man. John says that as Jesus was walking along he saw the man who was born blind. Without being asked, Jesus performs the miracle.
The man was physically blind but now he sees. At the same time, there is a gradual progression from spiritual blindness to sight, or from darkness to light. The blind man’s Christological insight grew and continued to grow as the story progresses. He started out by calling Jesus a man, then a prophet. He affirms that Jesus cannot be a sinner but that He is from God.
The story does not end here with the blind man that was healed. Jesus has not abandoned him. Jesus finds him when he is at the most vulnerable point of his life and asks him if he believes in the Son of Man. The blind man receives his sight, a miracle in the physical realm. But much more significantly, his spiritual eyes are opened and his darkness turns to light as he falls on his knees before Jesus and says, “Lord, I believe.”
So, during this Lenten Season, what is causing your “spiritual” blindness? How can we best sharpen our “spiritual” vision to be 20/20? Some potential ways are to go to Vespers on Sunday nights, Soup Suppers and Stations of the Cross on Tuesday nights, go to a Taize prayer service, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and most importantly receive the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist regularly. God wants us to have a very clear and bright spiritual vision, about Himself, and about each other, and about ourselves. Let Jesus perform a miracle with you this Lent so you may see more clearly the glory of God.
Deacon Paul Zemanek
OPERATION RICE BOWL: WEEK 4
Call to Family, Community and Participation
Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Call to Family, Community and Participation, we remember that human beings are social by nature — we need each other. We, like the early disciples, are called to come together and grow as a community, whether that community is in our classroom, workplace or family.
Maria de la Luz Lugo Martínez remembers what it was like growing up in Ejido Hidalgo, Mexico. “We said we were rich because we had a lot of corn, beans and animals.” But now, with few jobs and even less rain, young people — including Maria’s children — are leaving the community in search of a better life.
To help families like Maria’s, CRS launched a greenhouse project empowering women with meaningful work and community. Women visit their community greenhouses to grow cactuses to sell, but they also go for so much more. “At the greenhouses, we laugh, we talk, we spend time together. Sometimes we leave our homes angry or sad. But then we start working with the plants, and we forget. Talking, laughing, we forget our problems for a while,” says Maria.
As the cactuses grow, so too do the economic opportunities. “We didn’t believe we were going to get that far. It’s a lot of joy, a lot of excitement to see so many plants flowering.”
The flourishing cactuses aren’t the only things that give Maria pride. Even though they live far away, she still remains close to her family. “I give thanks to God that he gave me all my children and grandchildren,” she says. “They give me strength and courage to work hard. My children call and say, ‘Don’t give up, Mom. Have faith in God.'”
Watch a short video to learn more about Maria and the work of CRS in Mexico. http://www.crsricebowl.org/stories-of-hope/week-4 You might also want to try a very easy and delicious recipe from Mexico. http://www.crsricebowl.org/recipes/arroz-rojo