From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
March 27 – Fourth Sunday in Lent
This weekend we celebrate Laetare Sunday as we move closer to the end of our Lenten journey. Our vestment colors lighten as the white of hope and purity mixes with the purple of penance. We rejoice (the meaning of Laetare) because we begin to see and understand what is before us. Our gospel stories from last week and this week carry a common theme that points to the reason for rejoicing – the hope and redemption He offers to each of us. Jesus meets and visits with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in this past Sunday’s Gospel. This Sunday he heals the blind man. What is important to focus on is who they are, and the conversations he has with both. Both are people others might easily look down upon as sinners or ‘lesser’ individuals. A woman married several times and now living with a man. A woman of a lower class. And a blind man – probably blind because of his sin or the sins of his parents. PLEASE!! Keep them at a distance!
And yet Jesus not only associates with them but initiates the interactions and engages with both with no judgement or distain. Through their conversations and interactions both the woman and the blind man begin to have their respective blindness removed and they see Jesus first as a prophet, then as a man from God, and finally as Jesus himself. It is through prayer (conversation), relationship (response to their needs) and finally faith that both come to believe and know Jesus.
We are the blind ones though, when we make judgements of others based on appearances without looking into their heart. In the first reading, as David becomes chosen as the unexpected king by the Lord, God reminds Samuel and us “Do not judge from his appearance or lofty stature…not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” At a time when intolerance seems to be rising by the day, our Baptism calls us to come out of such darkness to live as “children of light…producing goodness and righteousness and truth.” Christ is our light and our hope. He calls each of us as well to be His light, lifting one another out of the darkness. He calls us to take off our blinders of pride, self-righteousness, and intolerance replacing them with the humility and mercy of Christ Jesus.
As Vincentians, every day God graces us with opportunities to engage with those others might deem as less than worthy. He calls us to see beyond the outward appearances, bringing to them the light and hope of Christ by providing them with conversation, a response to their needs, and an abiding presence of and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ that they too may find hope in the future. How effectively do we willingly enter into each of these relationships, removing our blinders that we might see each person with the eyes of God, that we might be His light to the world?
Lord Jesus, remove my blindness that I might truly see your presence in those whom you bring before me. Remove the pride of my judgements with the humility of your sacrifice and obedience. Allow me to seek out others who are in need. Help me to move without hesitation as your Son did to accept the burdens of others as my own. Allow me to feel the cleansing waters of my baptism wash away my weaknesses, my prejudices, and my blindness that I might see the world through your eyes and your heart. We pray all of this in your name. Amen