Monday, March 24, 2014

Light And Purpose

Lent brings us back to some very well known readings. The first reading focuses on how God sees us rather than how other people see us or even how we see ourselves. David is seen as a shepherd boy and so is not even invited to the meeting where a new king will be anointed. Even Samuel gets it wrong and wants to anoint Jesse's oldest son. God says No. He looks at the heart and not the outward appearance. It is a passage that is often read at confirmations because God has a plan for David and it explicitly says that when he was anointed with oil the Spirit of the Lord was upon him from that day on.

This ties in well with the first part of the gospel where Jesus is asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus says neither.  Again, the way everyone else looks at someone turns out to be not the way God looks at him. God does that. He makes plans for us that are so much better than people expect. It should totally change the way we look at other people. Nobody is a nobody. God has a plan for every person. You can't tell what it is. You can't know their heart and you can't know God's mind. So embrace the mystery of every human person and expect miracles. Expect them in your own life as well.

The second theme starts with the second reading.
You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind of goodness
and righteousness and truth.
Notice the phrase "you are light." It does not say you have light or you can shed light on things. It says you ARE light. We are so transformed that light becomes who we are.  Our love, our joy and our peace illuminate God and also illuminate the evil that men do.

Again this ties in well with the gospel. The blind man who was darkness becomes light. One of the people who he enlightens is himself. He ends up worshiping Jesus. The pharisees are the opposite. They try to put out the light. It was done on the sabbath. Maybe it was not the same man. All their arguments fail and they finally resort to violence. Jesus ends with “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains." A clear warning that they are spiritually lost and need to make a radical change.

It is amazing the scandal the blind man creates just be being transformed by Jesus. That is what we are to be. Jesus should change us so much that people get confused by it. People should be investigating whether you are really the same person. The change should be that miraculous. Then expect people to react both ways. They can praise God for the miracle that you are or they can use every means at their disposal to discredit or destroy you.

The reaction you should never get is "ho-hum." That is too often the case. We say we are converted yet the change is hardly noticeable. We say we were once darkness but now we are light yet nobody really notices anything.

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