L4A – Laetare Sunday. 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a. In the choice of one of Jesse’s sons to be the Lord’s anointed, the Lord rejects all but the youngest who was left out of the selection process by being chosen, perhaps by Jesse the father, to stay in the fields to tend the sheep. The Lord says to Samuel, “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” God sees differently than man sees. Please think back to Peter’s testimony that Jesus is the Messiah. Next Jesus says that he must suffer greatly, be killed and rise after three days. Peter then rebukes Jesus. Peter, as well as the other disciples, have the commonly held notion that the Messiah is to be a warrior king who will lead the Jews to drive the Roman occupiers out. Mark 8:27-33(as well as Matthew 16:13-23) then continues, “At this Jesus turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.’” The challenge for us is to plead daily with the Holy Spirit to think as God does even we are still human. John 9:1-41. The common presumption among the Jews in those days was that physical disabilities resulted from sin in the family or on the part of the individual. “Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.’” Although it says in Genesis that God made the world good, it does not say that God made the world perfect. If this world were perfect, God would not have place the tree of the knowledge of good and bad in the Garden of Eden. I believe that this world has its imperfections so that we need to go to God to make our situations here better or to help us make it better.
Throughout the gospel narrative the Jewish authorities seek a way to disqualify the cure of the blind man as a miracle; otherwise they would have to accept Jesus to be the Messiah or a prophet. The cured man states the obvious, “If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.” However, “they answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” This is what is called a ‘non sequitur’. Whether the blind man was born in sin or not, does not bear on the goodness of Jesus action. They have made themselves morally blind to the truth of Jesus as the Messiah. They have chosen to wander around in the darkness of denial.
“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, and the one speaking with you is he.’ He said, ‘I do believe, Lord,’ and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, ‘I came into the world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.’” I believe that what Jesus is saying is that he is the light of salvation to those who recognize that they are blind, i.e., that have not been seeing the truth because they have been living without the light that is Jesus, and those who think that they, without the help of God, know the truth, i.e., that they see are wandering around in the darkness and so are blind to their refusal to see the truth. Their blindness is a moral blindness, a refusal to open their hearts and minds to the light that is Jesus the Christ and so through him to know the truth. “But now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.” Jesus is saying you have the eyes to see the truth, i. e. the capability to understand the truth that Jesus is the Messiah who has given sight to the man blind from birth but you refuse to accept the truth because you do not want to accept Jesus as Messiah and so you have made yourselves blind to the truth.
Ephesians 5:8-14. “Brother and sisters: You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” To live in the light is to live in the Lord daily. It is quite natural to want to do our own will. In order to do what we want, it is the world’s way for us to call what we want to do ‘the right thing’. In this way we order our lives through self-delusion and self-deception, which is darkness, so that we may choose to perceive ourselves as doing ‘the right thing’. We do not realize that we have made ourselves blind to the light that is Christ. It is all too easy and attractive to live in our own little world and feel good about ourselves, until the roof that is reality or truth caves in on us. Only God’s will is ‘the right thing.’ Life that is lived independent from God, in which we have made ourselves, or something or someone who is not God, into a god is self-deception, self-delusion or moral blindness. Moral blindness is the normal worldly way to live. We can all too often feel right at home with so many others who do the same. Choose life! Let us choose the Lord to be our life! Everything else is death!