Sunday, March 11, is the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year B), but I will be using the readings from Year A for a specific reason, which I will unfold. Mass Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41.
The Gospels for the “Scrutiny Sundays” on the Third, Fourth and Fifth Sundays of Lent, which are permitted to be used every year, are an opportunity for the entire Church to reawaken and rediscover the central mysteries of salvation in Christ Jesus.
This week’s scrutiny is from St. John’s Gospel account of the man born blind. The Church proposes a whole new vision of reality to the catechumen preparing for the sacrament of baptism.
A man born blind from birth encounters the Lord Jesus, St. John tells us. Jesus “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” (John 9:6-7).
There is always a deeper spiritual reality taking place in the Gospels. The physical healing of the man born blind is pointing toward a spiritual healing that the Lord desires to accomplish within us. When we come into contact with Jesus Christ, our blindness is corrected.
Let’s apply this scrutiny to our own spiritual lives.
Even after we receive the sacrament of baptism and are made children of God, we need to be instructed in the faith. We need to be instructed to choose the good and to avoid evil.
Our spiritual vision needs to be awakened. We do not come into this world knowing that we have a supernatural destiny. That has to be told to us. We do not come into this world knowing that God the Father sent his Only Begotten Son into the world to save us from our sins. All of these truths from Divine Revelation have to be taught and explained to us.
Baptism disposes us to receive the truth of Divine Revelation. The grace that we receive in baptism has to be nourished and cultivated or the world, the flesh and the devil will damage our ability to see with the vision of faith.
Over the course of our lives, even though we may have been raised in the faith and received the sacraments, we may develop a faith-related “vision problem.”
Perhaps we develop “spiritual cataracts” that keep us from perceiving the truth of Divine Revelation.
Through encountering the God-Man Jesus Christ in the sacraments, he corrects our “vision problem.”
May I suggest making a thorough examination of conscience this Lent and making it a priority to receive the sacrament of penance (confession) before Easter.
Maybe there is something in your life that you have never brought up in confession, perhaps because you didn’t know how to say it or out of embarrassment. It might be something that is preventing you from seeing with the eyes of faith in a clear manner. Don’t be afraid to confess it, drop it and move on to follow Christ more closely.
In the sacraments, our “vision problem” is corrected, and we are given the beginning of the vision of a supernatural reality that ends in eternal life with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the glory of heaven.
There, and only there, will our “vision problem” be fully corrected.
Father John Paul Mary Zeller is a member of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word and resides in Irondale,
Alabama, the home of EWTN. He was commissioned a
“missionary of mercy” by Pope Francis in 2016.