March 26, 2017
Fourth Sunday of Lent
1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A PS 23: 1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6 EPH 5:8-14 JN 9:1-41
Today’s Gospel shows that alternative facts and cognitive dissonance are not new phenomena. Despite the evidence standing before them – the blind beggar miraculously cured – and despite the words of the man’s own parents, the Pharisees were incapable of believing that if Jesus had cured him, then Jesus was a righteous man. They came up with theories to fit their version of truth, unwilling to accept that their truth might possibly be wrong. Their intractable biases and conceited self-assured attitudes prevented them from hearing and accepting the Truth, even after bringing the man back a second time for questioning. Their pride made it impossible for them to accept the man’s testimony and admonitions, and subsequently the man was thrown out of the temple.
The Pharisees were spiritually blind though they had perfect vision. The blind man, through Jesus’ miracle, received perfect vision both physically and spiritually. The blind man came to believe in Jesus’ saving power, while the Pharisees refused to accept Him, because He didn’t fit their vision of who the Messiah was going to be.
Jesus came to free us from the darkness of sin, from those things that blind us to the truth about ourselves, that we are still not wholly perfected, that we stumble and stagger in darkness from time to time. Each of us clings to some alternative fact about ourselves. We all have our blind spots. Like Samuel the prophet, there are times when we know exactly what God is looking for – “Surely the Lord’s anointed is here before him!” – only to discover later that we weren’t looking with God’s eyes, but with our own. We were judging according to our standards rather than His.
The only way to be cured of our blindness is to first admit we are blind – that we are sinners – and that we need the light of Christ to illuminate our lives and expose those sins that need forgiveness. We can kid ourselves all day long that we’re fine the way we are, that we’re good people, that we’re nice to others, that we know what God is about – but all we’re doing is clinging to alternative facts which leave us blind to this reality: without the light of Christ, we remain in the dark, far from truth. We remain in our sin, telling ourselves “We see!”, rather than living as children of light.
Seeing may be believing, but it is in believing in Christ when we truly start to see.
Image in Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons