I like the Gospel readings for this 4th Sunday of Lent. They challenge me to overcome my own prejudices, assumptions and blind spots.
Both of the Gospels – I am including the one for the 2nd Scrutiny of Christian initiation – are about seeing the light of Christ, the truth before us. For me, at least, that is not so straightforward.
In particular, I like the Gospel passage from John 9 (from the 2nd Scrutiny) where Jesus gives sight to the blind man. The Pharisees do everything they can to deny or downplay this miracle: “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” “This man [Jesus] is not from God, for he does not observe the Sabbath.” Some simply refused to believe that the man was blind to begin with.
When finally this previously-blind man reasons to the Pharisees why Jesus has to be from God, the Pharisees had had enough, and rationalized that a man born entirely of sin couldn’t possibly have anything to teach them; and so they threw him out.
This makes me think: how much mental gymnastics do I go through each day to deny that my point of view is wrong or at least deficient? To whom am I not listening about a truth because I have decided that that person couldn’t possibly have something to teach me? How am I letting my ego get in the way of seeing an injustice?
In the end, I am, in many ways, like the Pharisees, who fear too much to see the light before them. But I am also the blind man, who – by the grace of God – can chose to see Jesus for who he is.
Simon Appolloni is Associate Publishing Director at Novalis. He has a PhD in religion and environmental studies and a Master of Divinity. Simon finds meaning through music, sharing in community, and the pursuit of a just and sustainable world.