Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on March 30, 2014

Gospel reading of the day:

John 9:1-41

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—. So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

b21a969d506be11f2f193535471a6fe9_w600His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is, “but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.” So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He replied, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see.” And they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.” So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?” His parents answered and said, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for himself.” OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHis parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner.” He replied, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” So they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” They ridiculed him and said, “You are that man’s disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from.” The man answered and said to them, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.” They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”

imagesSome of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

Reflection on the gospel reading: We read today about a vision that changes lives. This is a sightedness that obsessively, dangerously, undeniably reaches into the very core of our beings. This is a seeing that of itself makes us entirely new.

I have read that one of the Dalai Lama’s heroes is a Belfast man who, when he was a boy coming home from school one day, was shot and blinded for life by a British soldier. When Richard Moore returned home from the hospital, his mother took him aside to tell him two things. First, that he would never see again, and secondly, that he must never hate the British. Moore grew up to found a charity for children suffering from violence and conflict. He presents for us a living witness to what the teachers of non-violence, people like the the Dalai Lama, Mahatma Ghandi, and Martin Luther King, insist: that it is possible, however impossible it may seem, to transcend the instinctive reactions of hatred and revenge that arise and usually master us after we have suffered at the hands of others.

The most important way of achieving what seems impossible is to see it. Once seen and experienced anything, however out of reach it appears, the vision we have enjoyed enters the realm of possibility. To see in this way we have to close our eyes to the illusory images that are in truth forms of spiritual blindness. Though Richard Moore lost his physical eyes, the eyes inside his spirit perceive reality with a clearer vision than many of us enjoy who benefit from the play of light on our retinas.

BlindWhen in today’s gospel Jesus heals the man blind from birth, he is not working at the physical level alone. With his sight restored, the man comes to see with a clarity and vividness that fills him with the courage and decisiveness that only the truest vision of reality can awaken in us.

We are invited to open our eyes to receive a vision. And this vision will inspire in us an animating faith. As our faith deepens, our vision becomes clearer; and when we see vividly enough, we recognize that we have already changed our direction. The actual instant of change, like that of a resurrection from the dead, is always hidden in the moment when the degree of vision reaches the critical point. We can never see God as an object but only by a participation in God’s vision of us that, as we sometimes too reluctantly admit, is not the end of the story but part of an infinitely larger picture than we can imagine.

So what is the vision that opens our interior eyes to God’s vision of us? The vision is Jesus. Obsessively, dangerously, undeniably Jesus.

Spiritual reading: Violence as a way of achieving justice is both impractical and immoral. It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding; it seeks to annihilate rather than to convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. (Martin Luther King)


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