Part of the genius of Jesusí ministry was that he didnít spend much time trying to convince people. He just spoke the truth, did good things and let the chips fall where they may.
Those open to Godís grace were drawn to him. Those wrapped up in their own wrongheadedness fought him.
In the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent, Jesus heals a man born blind. You would expect those who witnessed this to be astonished and overjoyed.
But for those looking to condemn Jesus, it was just one more piece of evidence to use against him.
Their issue was the seeming audacity Jesus showed in healing an undeserving person. If the man was blind, they reasoned, it was obviously punishment for his sinfulness or that of his parents.
Such perverse logic let the movers and shakers of society off the hook for their failure to help the disadvantaged.
If the blind, lepers, widows and others who were marginalized deserved their fate, then changing their condition would violate Godís will.
Stycy, a sponsored child in India.
For those with wealth and influence ó who, by implication, must be Godís favored ó it was a cozy belief system. But it was also wrong, and Jesus had no problem in naming it as such.
By healing the blind man Jesus put his critics in the absurd position of denouncing as evil an action that was clearly good.
In so doing, they exposed the illogic of their beliefs and proved themselves to be the truly blind ones.
Their blindness, unlike that of the man now gifted with sight, was all the more tragic because they stubbornly chose to remain in it despite the opportunity for conversion offered by Jesus.
Now, as in Jesusí day, hardness of heart keeps some from seeing past their own narrow interests.
But the good news is that generous, loving hearts are opened up to new vision every day.
CFCA sponsors often tell us how sharing in their sponsored friends’ lives has given them new insight into the talents, gifts and potential of those living in poverty.
Those who are sponsored tell how sponsorship has given them permission to see a future full of hope.
For both groups, CFCA is an avenue of a brighter vision, and we take great satisfaction in that.
As we continue our Lenten journey, let us each take a deep look into our own hearts.
May we allow Godís word and the companionship of others to penetrate our moments of blindness and flood our lives with warm, loving light. May we have the courage to see clearly and act justly.
And may the Christ ó he whose passionate love cures all variety of blindness ó always be our guide.
- Read the first Lenten reflection: Learning to love others more deeply
- Read the second Lenten reflection: Learning to listen for the voice of God
- Read the third Lenten reflection: Discovering our best selves
- Read the fifth Lenten reflection: Rising again from small, everyday ‘deaths’
- Read the sixth Lenten reflection: Embracing the reality of the cross
- Read the seventh Lenten reflection:†Making sense of the empty tomb