Not seeing the wood for the trees

This story starts with one man who was born blind, while everyone around him can see, but it ends with the one who was blind showing that the Pharisees cannot see what is under their noses. The creative love of the Father, working through the Son, has healed a wounded creature, opening the eyes of the blind man not only to the beauty of the world around him but to the wonder of recognising Jesus as Lord and Saviour. The Pharisees cannot see the love of God at work, even though it is staring them in the face. They cannot see the new confidence and faith that enables the man to witness to what God has done for him. They can only see sin: the sin they presume to be the cause of his blindness and the sin they think Jesus has committed by healing him on the Sabbath. Their theology blocks their awareness of what God is really doing. So, in a classic reaction of authority to what it cannot understand, they drive the man out: he is rejected by his own religious community. Jesus goes to find him, to complete his enlightenment, and the man responds by worshipping him.

Pope Francis has invited us, during this Lent, to let Jesus open our eyes so that we become more aware of God’s presence in our world and especially in those who are in need:

To those who feel far from God and the Church, to all those who are fearful or indifferent, I would like to say this: the Lord, with great respect and love, is also calling you to be a part of his people!

… The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.
Every Christian is chal­lenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly ex­perienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are “disciples” and “missionaries”, but rather that we are always “missionary disciples”. If we are not convinced, let us look at those first disciples, who, immediately after encountering the gaze of Jesus, went forth to proclaim him joyfully: “We have found the Messiah!” (Jn 1:41). … So what are we waiting for?

Fr Chris

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