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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I Was Blind; And Now I See

Sermon by Rev. John Paul Shea
4th Sunday in Lent, March 26, 2017
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Tucson, AZ
"I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind." (John 9:39)

Today our Church offers us the story of the man born blind (John 9:1-41). Like many stories in the Gospel of John, it gives us insight in the spiritual life.

Last week, Christ used the image of water to address the woman at the well: "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." 

This week, Our Lord heals a man who is blind from birth so “that the works of God might be made visible through him.” Our Lord heals this man while He was in the world so that we may believe in the power of His grace and be freed from our infirmities.

Fr. John Paul Shea 
My brothers and sisters, the blind man in today’s Gospel passage represents each one of us. Each one of us was born into original sin. Therefore, each one of us in a sense is blind from birth.

Some persons come into this world today with deep infirmities. For example, some are born addicted to crack, or with a cleft palate.  Some are born into abusive families. Yet, today’s Gospel reminds us that no matter how small or great our dysfunctions, Our Lord Jesus Christ has come to give us healing.

As Jesus opened the eyes of the blind man, so He wants to remove the blindness from our eyes and hearts so we will experience the healing power of God’s grace. 

Unlike the man healed in today's Gospel, most of us must work out our salvation in fear and trembling. This is why Jesus suffered in our humanity so that we can be healed through His obedience to the Father. Pick up your cross and follow after Him. 

Therefore, today’s Gospel is about letting God remove the areas of sin in our lives that blind us from becoming all who God calls us to be. 
 Jesus uses saliva and mud to heal the blind man’s eyes. For us, He gave the sacraments. 

The Holy Spirit heals us through the words of absolution in the sacrament of confession. He heals through the bread and wine transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ at Holy Mass. The sick receive the holy oil of anointing for physical and spiritual healing.

Just as in the case of the man healed of blindness, God uses ordinary substances to be transformed as a vehicle for the manifestation of His healing grace! 

God’s healing grace is available also when we come pray before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Simply spending a small amount of time each day in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is an opportunity for healing. 

My brothers and sisters, God wants to make visible His works through us. He wants to manifest His grace in us. But we must trust in the power of Our Lord Jesus Christ! We must surrender our sins and weaknesses to Him  and refuse to act out of our fallen nature. 

In today’s second reading (Ephesians 5:8-14),  Saint Paul says,
“You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Therefore, “Live as children of light.”

We are called to live as children of light. Saint Paul says, “Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret.” 

We live in a world today that is filled with darkness. We live in a world that is blind to the Truth. Instead of acknowledging our disordered desires and striving to turn away from these inordinate passions, our society tells us to act on these desires. Our society tells us that masturbation is normal. Our society teaches us that if we have the desire for gay sex than we should act on this desire. Our society says if we want to live as transgender than we can change the very essence of our human nature though manipulating our God-given gender to suit our sexual choices. 

Let us open our eyes and see the lies of our society. Let us look into the blindness in our
own lives so that our eyes can be opened to receive the healing power of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

For our Lord is coming again into our world for judgment. Those who acknowledge His healing grace will see the blessings of eternal life. But, those who close their eyes and hearts to His message of truth and grace will remain forever in the darkness of their sins. May each one of us open our eyes and hearts to the message of Truth and life that our Lord Jesus has come offer to each one of us. Amen.

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