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Fourth Sunday of Lent

(Sam. 16:1, 6-7, 10-13, Ephesians 5:8-14, Jn. 9:1-41)

When I turned 40, a friend warned me: ‘Your eyesight will start to fail.’ I was frightened at the thought, for I love to read. And yet, true enough, I rely now on my reading glasses to enjoy my books. A deteriorating vision is a big nuisance. How much more then, if you are getting blind or have been blind for a long time? Blind people go through more limitations, and in our society they are victims of prejudice and discrimination too.

The gospel today is such good news in our crusade against the plague called blindness. Jesus heals a man born blind. To the bewilderment of onlookers and critics, Jesus restores his sight completely. Before, he knew only darkness; now he revels in the gift of light, color, shapes, figures and movements. With light come freedom, independence and opportunity.

But the gospel does not only speak about physical blindness. While it is the common experience of blindness, there is another blindness that victimizes many people – spiritual blindness. People have perfect vision but they pretend not to see. People enjoy the sense of sight and yet choose only what to see. Blind not because of nature, but because of intention.

Such is the blindness to which we are plunged when we sin against the Lord and against one another. Sin shuts the eyes of faith so that we cannot see God in the person of others and we cannot perceive the vestiges of God in the world. Though we are convinced that we are walking, the truth is, we do not clearly see the road we are walking on – its humps, its dirt, its blockades.

Lent comes to us as an invitation to approach the light – to see the light and to be filled with light again. God intends to touch our eyes, the eyes of faith, so that like the blind man, we can see for the first time, or see again. Jesus wants us not merely to see but to be filled, surrounded and embraced by the light. In Lent, we are re-introduced to Jesus, the Light of the World, who becomes the light of our life.

There is much darkness in the world today. There is so much pain man inflicts on another. There is so much disregard for truth and compassion. How natural it is to see in our corrupt government a paragon of blindness and darkness because we cannot deny the malice and indifference of some of our leaders. We thank God for courageous people who, while they were also former slaves of sin and darkness, decided to shake the shackles of sin from their lives. We thank God for people whose consciences are still awake and who still believe that our country can be great again if we learn to sacrifice.

And yet, we should not only point at other’s weaknesses or at faulty structures. We need to look deep into our hearts and surrender our blind and dark spots to the Lord. If our clamor for light in society is not based on faith, genuine conversion and sacrifice, the effect will be fiery but short-lived emotions. Approaching Jesus in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, let us desire to step out of the darkness of our sins and move towards the light that serves the good of all and proclaims the greatness of God.