March 22, 2017 // Bishop's Column: In Truth and Charity

The Journey of Faith of the Man Born Blind

Do you believe in the Son of Man? That question of Jesus to the blind man whom He had cured is the climax of the Gospel we will hear this coming Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent. Jesus had cured him of his physical blindness, but that was only the beginning of the story. Jesus was intent on doing infinitely more for him — to bring him to a greater light, the vision of faith in Him as the Light of the world. Jesus gave the man born blind physical sight so that he would come to see with the new eyes of faith the truth about Him, about life and about its destiny.

I invite you to meditate on the journey of faith of the man born blind. At first, he didn’t know who Jesus was. Gradually, he came to recognize Jesus as a man of God, a prophet, then he came to believe that Jesus is the Son of Man, the Son of God. Jesus asked him: Do you believe in the Son of Man? Very honestly, the blind man asked in reply: Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him? Jesus told him that it was He. The man then said: I do believe, Lord. And then he worshipped Jesus.

We’re all on this journey of faith. We can call it “a baptismal journey.” That’s how Lent began — a journey of catechumens, a journey to baptism, to illumination by the light of Christ. Through Baptism, we received the light of Christ. We will remember this in a dramatic way in the liturgy of the Easter Vigil. But after Baptism, we can fall back into darkness because of our sins. That’s why we have this season of Lent, a time of conversion and spiritual renewal, to live our true identity as those St. Paul calls “children of light.”

An etching by Jan Luyken from the Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations housed at Belgrave Hall, Leicester, England.

During Lent, we remember in prayer all the people who will receive the sacraments at Easter. We pray for all those who will be baptized as well as those already baptized who will be received into full communion in the Catholic Church. They have all been on a journey of faith. In the sacrament of Confirmation, they will receive an increase and deepening of the grace of their Baptism, thus becoming more firmly united to Christ and His Church. Confirmation will give them the special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread the light of Christ to others.

In the first reading this Sunday, we read about Samuel anointing David as king. Notice what happened:  Scripture says that the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David. The young shepherd David was chosen by God and filled with the Spirit to serve as king. The Spirit of the Lord also rushes upon us in Baptism and Confirmation, equipping us for service in God’s Kingdom.

A whole new world opened up for the blind man when he professed his faith in Jesus and worshipped Him. He entered into a new relationship with God by following Christ. The same happens to us. We learn to adapt our life to the will of God and to bring Christ’s light to our neighbors. When we receive the light of Christ, when we follow Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our lives are changed. The Lord teaches us wisdom and He fills our hearts with love, if we but open ourselves to Him. We learn to live as children of light, the light which St. Paul says “produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.”

May the Lord bless our brothers and sisters who in just three weeks will receive the Easter sacraments!  May these sacraments help them to live each day as children of light!  May the Lord cure all of us from the darkness of confusion and sin present in this world and give us His light during this Lenten season to purify our hearts and to renew our Christian love!

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