Sunday, March 22
Fourth Sunday of Lent
John 9: 1-41
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him,
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,
that he was born blind?”
“Neither he nor his parents sinned;
it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.
We 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.”
When he had said this, 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.”
So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes
and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’
So I went there and washed and was able to see.”
And they said to him, “Where is he?”
He said, “I don’t know.”
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.”
Now the Jews did not believe
that he had been blind and gained his sight
until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.
They asked them,
“Is this your son, who you say was born blind?
How does he now see?”
His parents answered and said,
“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.
We do not know how he sees now,
nor do we know who opened his eyes.
Ask him, he is of age;
he can speak for himself.”
His parents said this because they were afraid
of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed
that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,
he would be expelled from the synagogue.
For this reason his parents said,
“He is of age; question him.”
So a second time they called the man who had been blind
and said to him, “Give God the praise!
We know that this man is a sinner.”
“If he is a sinner, I do not know.
One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”
So they said to him,
“What did he do to you?
How did he open your eyes?”
He answered 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?”
They ridiculed him and said,
“You are that man’s disciple;
we are disciples of Moses!
We know that God spoke to Moses,
but we do not know where this one is from.”
The man answered and said to them,
“This is what is so amazing,
that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.
We know that God does not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him.
It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind.
If this man were not from God,
he would not be able to do anything.”
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,
the one speaking with you is he.”
“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him.
Then Jesus said,
“I came into this world for judgment,
so that those who do not see might see,
and those who do see might become blind.”
Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this
and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”
Jesus said to them,
“If you were blind, you would have no sin;
but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.
Well friends, we have certainly had our world turned upside down on us, haven’t we? For us here in Columbus, it was first the cancelation of the Arnold Classic a couple of weeks ago. Then we started to have the NBA cancel its games, followed shortly thereafter with the cancelation of March Madness. And, for you UD Flyer fans out there, the best record in 61 years and on a 20-game win streak. Then we had the cancelation of the Saint Patrick’s Day parade and then the bars and the restaurants implemented closures. The closure of our schools. Even Starbucks…oh my gosh…what are we going to do now?
This truly has been a March Madness to remember…hasn’t it? Who would have ever dreamed we would be facing the effects of such a disease as the coronavirus just a short time ago?
There is an old adage…Man Plans and God Laughs! For whom really has control of our lives and our whole world? Is it us OR is it God? Unfortunately, a good portion of our society today seems to believe we have control of everything…NOT God. Perhaps this is a wakeup call for all of us that we need to have God in our lives. To really focus on what is important to us. Are the most important things in our lives perhaps earning as much money as we can? Buying the biggest house? Driving that latest sports car? Having the latest Apple iPhone? OR, is it having a relationship with God, and I mean truly a relationship with God…not just in passing, here and there in our daily lives. Not just when we are praying to Him because we need something from Him.
After all, who has control of everything around us…Is it you and me or is it God? Today, we heard in our Gospel about a blind man whom Jesus cures that was blind since birth. This man could not see Jesus, but Jesus could look into the depths of his heart. For Jesus came into the world to give sight to those who are spiritually blind…He came to us.
The inner darkness of our fears, our attachments, and our beliefs are what keep us from seeing. They cover our eyes like the mud on the eyes of the man born blind. Friends, where is the mud of darkness in your life? For us to truly see begins in the heart, not the eyes.
During this Lenten Season, let us focus on what is most important. Let us re-establish a relationship with Jesus and the Trinity. Let us remember those who are the most vulnerable in our society…those who are homeless and poor…those who are battling an illness in their lives…those who are unemployed or under-employed…those who are lonely due to the loss of a loved one…our families and our loved ones. These are the things that are most important in our lives and our journeys to heaven. Let us give all praise and thanks to God for the many blessings He has given us in our lives.
Perhaps out of this very serious health event and the cancelation of all our Masses, we will come to better appreciate going to Mass as a community with our families. We will come to Mass because “we want to” and because we want to give thanks to God…AND, not just because it is a precept of our Catholic Faith and “we have to”!! Are you missing the Holy Eucharist? It is the true nourishment Jesus provided to heal us and to save us.
-Deacon Paul Zemanek