Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dirt & spittle

Fourth Sunday of Lent

In the midst of our daily routine we must take some time to prepare for the celebration of the Eucharist on Sunday. The Sunday readings are rich and vibrant. The first reading, from the First Book of Samuel prepares us for the Gospel by contrasting how we see with how God sees.  As he writes to the Ephesians, St. Paul treats of that light that produces every kind of goodness and truth, the light without which we are left in the darkness of our sin.

So the man goes and washes ... and comes back able to see. The dirt-and-spit opens his eyes, and he proceeds to testify that it was Jesus who gave him his vision. Standing before the Pharisees, he says, "He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see .... He is a prophet." When they counter that Jesus is a sinner, the man says, "I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see." And the man asks the Pharisees mockingly, "Do you also want to become his disciples?" He might as well say to these religious leaders: "Here's mud in your eye!"

Finally, face to face with the one who healed him, the man discovers that Jesus is none other than the Son of Man. "Lord, I believe," he says, and he worships him. It is important to note that his healing comes BEFORE this statement of faith. The man does not believe in Jesus prior to his touch; the man receives the touch and then believes. The mudpack inspires the man to trust that he will be healed.

Does this sound crazy?  Don't assume that dirt and spit had nothing to do with the healing of the blind man. At the very least, it helped to focus his faith.