4t Sunday of Lent – April 3, 2011
1 Samuel 16: 1b, 6-7, 10-13a, Ephesians 5: 8-14, John 9: 1-41
The readings were long this morning! Did they put you to sleep? (singing) Awake O sleeper, and arise from the dead, open your eyes and see the light of Christ.
A disciple of Christ must keep the faith and profess it, confidently bearing witness to it, and spreading it: “All must be prepared to confess Christ before men and to follow him along the way of the Cross, expecting human persecutions which the Church never lacks. One must have their eyes open!
How do we do that? Time to get some mud in yer eye. One day at the ATL airport, the passengers had been delayed and were waiting for the pilots to show up for their flight so they could depart. The pilot and co-pilot finally show up. Both appear to be blind as they walk past the passengers; the pilot is using a white cane, the co-pilot with a guide dog. Both have their eyes covered with sunglasses.
The passengers board the aircraft with some anxiety. The engines start, and the airplane taxi’s out to the runway with some jerkiness adding anxiety and uneasiness. They look at each other and whispering begins.
The plane finally begins accelerating rapidly, and the people sitting in the window seats recognize they have passed the normal lift off point and begin to panic. Some passengers begin praying aloud. As the plane gets closer and closer to the end of the runway their voices become more hysterical.
With less than twenty feet of runway left, there is a sudden change in the pitch of the shouts as everyone screams. At that very second, the plane lifts off and is airborne.
Up in the cockpit, the co-pilot breathes a sigh of relief and says to the pilot: “You know, one of these days the passengers aren’t going to scream, and we won’t know when to lift off!”
The scripture readings today are long. There is a reason they are so long. Today scripture is trying to teach us about the length and extended degree humanity will go to attribute culpability which can lead to spiritual blindness. Oh we may have perfect 20-20 eye eyesight, but spiritually we can be as blind as a bat. Somebody just has to be at fault for every problem.
Look at how hard the people in this gospel worked to identify the culpable one. At the on set the disciples questioned Jesus about who was at fault. Once healed the people began to question healed blind man’s neighbors, then the Pharisees were brought in, then they all went back to the healed blind man, still his word wasn’t good enough so they rounded up the blind mans parents. His parents were afraid and sent every one back to their blind son. Then the Pharisees confronted the blind man again and being unhappy with his response had him thrown out. After Jesus hears the story he confronts the Pharisee in us all. He consoles the bind man after the Pharisees had him thrown out! Back and forth, back and forth they went until — I am Out of breath!
One could analyze this story and draw an analogy that the people in this story were so bound and determined they would stomp through a puddle again and again to until it became a mud hole simply to satisfy human natures desire to attribute fault. We humans are sure someone is at fault, yet at the same time complain about why the water in the mud puddle we are stomping through has become so awfully muddy! We humans will continue to make the mess worse and worse until like the passengers in plane everyone is ready to scream!
Yet in all of this mess there is hope! In salvation history, the Lord God and in this case Jesus takes the mud we humans create through our misguided nature and turns it into light. Jesus came to teach us that those who can not see might seeand those who see might become blind. The lesson is clear we the people are going to go blind walking back and forth through the mud puddles of life until we open our stubborn hearts and minds to the healing light the spirit of Jesus offers us in the middle of the mud puddle.
We don’t have to look far. Cosnider our families, our relationships with friends, community isses and yes even our national politicians as they purposely misuse the English language to vilianize their opponernt in an effort to lay blame on someone toher than the ones who created the mess in the first place. The truth is to be avoided because the hidden within the truth is the light of Christ from which no one can hide!
How long had the man in our Gospel had been blind? From birth, but was that twenty years or fifty years? He could have thought of himself as a born loser. When he was healed he could have very well said, “Twenty wasted years … fifty years … almost my whole life.”
He could have gone about the town trying to shame those who had given him nothing, during those years of begging and scrounging. He could have demanded he be compensated for his suffering. But no! Instead he worshiped and gave praise to Jesus, and went about giving thanks for the gift of sight and the hope of a new life. He was filled with gratitude and focused on the rebirth of the possibilities for the future in spite of all the people who were caught up and still stomping in the mud puddle.
The Gospel story reminds us that it is Jesus who ignites dreams, kindles the light of hope, and opens eyes of the blind. If we want to clear the muddy puddles in our family, with friends and even solve our states and nation’s muddled up mess’s, we must turn to Jesus Christ with open hearts and eyes.
So let us recapture and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all those we meet. By saying “Here’s mud in your eye.”