Sunday, March 22, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Lent

What a surreal experience this is!! At the heart of our religion and Catholic faith is to “gather” people together, physically, to embrace, to share, to feast at a meal, to SEE each other. Here we are, just a few people, being told that we must be “scattered” and separated, physically, avoiding any contact whatsoever. Our assembly is scattered, separated from one another, but we come TOGETHER in spirit and prayer. This moment of liturgical prayer, how it is happening, now, in this moment of time, is a great testament to the beauty and importance of technology. We are being GATHERED through the various connections of WiFi, Internet, Facebook in this moment called “live streaming.”

At the heart of the gospel is a man who couldn’t SEE, physically, a limitation that pushed him to the borders of his culture. The way Jesus performed the miracle would not find any favor or support from anyone in the medical field. He took his own saliva and mixed it with dirt and smeared it over the man’s eyes. His physical sight happened gradually, symbolic of the journey of conversion, a gradual process of “seeing.”

When the man could  SEE clearly, that was just the beginning because Jesus was not just interested in the man’s sight, but his INSIGHT. This happened later, this moment of deep insight, after being turned away by his own parents, who simply washed their hands of the conflict, being thrown out of the synagogue, and finding himself quite alone. The man lost his family, his religion and his way of getting money. Just think, his physical sight ended his disability; he no longer has need to beg, which means making a living in a new way.

In his moment of loneliness and isolation, Jesus enters and further heals his heart. The spirit fills the man giving him a deeper way of seeing Jesus, God, the world, life. The man truly SEES, deeply SEES, giving him the gift of insight. To be insightful is to see the deeper reality of life.
The man’s faith was ignited by love, as he SAW Jesus for who he truly is when he said to Jesus, “I do believe.” He then worshipped Jesus.

Jesus enters this awkward moment of liturgical prayer, he enters OUR loneliness being so physically separated from each other. He fills this  lonely worship space with Presence and spirit. The angels and saints are gathered here and in your individual homes, uniting us, not physically, but in the majestic way of the Holy Spirit. Dozens, perhaps hundreds of homes, condos, and apartments are coming together in a way known only to God. May we given the deep insight to SEE the power of God at work in this time of separation and confusion.

Let us never forget this experience, a gift , if you will, reminding us how fragile life is, how vulnerable we all our. Just think, what stopped the world, the whole world, was not an economic disaster, not a war but an unseen virus. May this time give us deep insight to truly SEE the beauty and power of our lives, our lives, our God.

Peace,
Fr. Frank