Deacon Tony reflects: Seeing with fresh eyes

This reflection is for the readings for Year A, which are used in places where the Scrutinies are taking place this Sunday.

Today we are asked to look at the Scriptures with fresh eyes. In the first reading we are reminded that God does not see as man sees; in our Psalm we are reminded that God will guide us along the right path and that we should not fear the evil associated with darkness; in the second reading St Paul reminds us that once we lived in darkness, but that now we live in the light – the effects of this light can be seen in ‘complete goodness, right living and truth’; and in our Gospel passage today we have a tale of two types of blindness.

The blind man in the Gospel was an outcast, at the beginning of the Gospel we hear some of the superstitions associated with disabilities which were prevalent around the time Jesus walked the earth. People associated disabilities or disfigurements with sin; assuming someone must have sinned for God to allow the disability to exist. Jesus refutes this view, stating that the blind man was ‘born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him’.

The story of the curing of the blind man is presented in detail. We have the man who was blind and can now see and we have the Pharisees, who have an obvious miracle in front of them and refuse to see it for what it is, the work of God. They interrogate the man and his parents looking for a thread to rip apart their story, but there is no weakness in their story, it has to be true and yet the Pharisees’ prejudices and self-interest don’t allow them to see God’s graces, which have been bestowed upon this man.

The Pharisees are not alone with this blindness, there are things in our life where we have blurred vision; for example, my upbringing, my initial formation as a cradle Catholic I was taught that only Catholics could get to heaven. This gave me an extremely blinkered view. For the first 23 years of my life, I stepped into a non-Catholic Church twice. The first was as a child when I attended a Sunday school, where they were giving out sweets. The second was when an aunt got married. I never told my mother that I had gone to the Sunday school out of fear; we were to have as little to do with protestants as possible, which I really struggled to understand, because my grandmother was a protestant. My eyes were opened to the merits of other Christian denominations when I attended an Alpha Course led by a couple from the Community Church; there I encountered really good people who love Jesus and put their faith into action.

The reminder that God sees things differently from man when he chose the youngest, least mature shepherd boy to be anointed as King of the Jewish people instead of the elder stronger brothers, reminds me that God does not call the able He enables the called; something we need to remember if we are ever asked to do anything for the Church and do not feel able to do it.

Today we will celebrate the second scrutinies for our Catechumens and the second reading used today reminds me of the Easter Vigil Mass; which we will celebrate in a few short weeks; where we all start out in darkness. At that time the whole Church is in darkness following the events commemorated on Good Friday; when the whole world was flung into darkness. The light which shoots out from the Easter fire, and which is spread from the Easter Candle throughout the church building, dazzling our senses as the flames dance filling the void with light, reminding us that the Light of the World conquers darkness and calls us to live good holy lives.

The building and all attendees at the Vigil Mass, especially those celebrating Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion, are those being awakened – allowing Christ to shine on us and shine through us. This is not a passive Service, this is a Liturgy full of rich meaning, this is a Liturgy when we celebrate the Light of the World and are asked to take His Light out into His World.

We are part way through our Lenten journey, and each Sunday reminds us of what we are journeying towards. Sunday the day of Resurrection, where we gather together to celebrate the Eucharist of Christ. Each Sunday reminds us of the hope we have as Christians, each Sunday reminds us that we do not journey alone, this Sunday we are asked to use our eyes, look around us, to see if there anyone who is struggling, who is alone, who needs help to open their eyes to see the Light?

We need to look and listen to our Scripture readings and ask ourselves, what does God want me to do today, with what I have seen and heard? Then all we need to do is respond.

Further Reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Fourth Sunday of Lent

CCC 280, 529, 748, 1165, 2466, 2715: Christ the light of the nations
CCC 439, 496, 559, 2616: Jesus is the Son of David
CCC 1216: baptism is illumination
CCC 782, 1243, 2105: Christians are to be light of the world

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
  • All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
  • Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Those discerning a vocation and those considering coming into the Catholic Church.
  • The innocent people caught up in wars and conflicts around the world, but especially those in Palestine, Israel, Ukraine, Russia, Syria and Iraq.
  • Those preparing for Sacraments this Easter.
  • The families starting the Baptism Preparation sessions at St Bede’s this weekend.