Throughout Lent, our weekly ePrayers include a special series of reflections on the upcoming Sunday readings. This reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent is from Unbound preacher Father John Anglin, OFM.
This Sunday offers us the choice of two sets of readings, and this reflection draws from both. In one set, the emphasis is on God’s mercy and love. So often when someone has done wrong we are ready to condemn and to write the person off. In Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, we are told that God sent His Son out of love. He tells us that when we come into the light, which is God shining through our good works, we live in God.
The other set of reading contains one of my favorite Gospel stories, the account of Jesus’ healing of the man born blind. The Pharisees see the man as a sinner because of his blindness and they condemn Jesus for healing him on the Sabbath. After a long back and forth they ask Jesus if he thinks they are blind. Jesus tells them, “If you were blind you would have no sin; but now you are saying ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.” (Jn 9:41)
In the Unbound community, both messages speak to us. Unbound looks at the whole person. We look beyond one’s situation and limitations and try to see the person as God sees them, looking upon each one with mercy. We also are guided by the light which is God, the light that inspires everything about Unbound. Even more to the point is Unbound’s philosophy of seeing potential and not just poverty in our sponsored friends and their families.
The challenge for us is to ask God to help us to see, to heal our blindness so that we can see the potential, the goodness and the human dignity not only in our sponsored friends, but in everyone. I have witnessed this in awareness trips I have made with Unbound to El Salvador and Peru, where I not only saw what happens when people are told that we believe in them, but also what happens when they affirm their belief in us and love for us. That last part I found truly humbling.
O God, you love us and you love all people. Help us to stretch beyond the limits of our love and to open our hearts to all, even those we find difficult to love. Give us the courage to admit that at times we cannot see, and heal the blindness of our hearts. Finally, Lord, at this most difficult time in our country and in our world lead us through the darkness to the wonderful light of your love. Amen.