March 25 & 26, 2017
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Today, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, is known as Laetare Sunday. The opening antiphon of our mass proclaims the joy of knowing God loves and redeems us. The rose color of this week’s vestments reminds us that we are mid-way through Lent and we stand at the early dawn of Easter with joy and hope. It is time to take a deep spiritual breath, evaluate how we are doing with our Lenten disciplines, and to continue our Lenten journey with a renewed spirit and hope. Soon our Lenten penance will be complete, and the joy and hope of the resurrection and discipleship will be upon us.
This Sunday’s Gospel reading of the cure of the man born blind proclaims not only a bestowal of physical vision but also the gift of the insight of faith. Imagine the joy of the man born blind who now sees the beauty of creation, color, and the faces of his family and friends. That is also the joy that comes from the insight of faith, the ability to see and understand our world and other people as God sees them. We continue to seek this insight and joy through our Lenten disciplines on our way to Easter and Pentecost.
In today’s first reading, the Lord tells Samuel: “Not as Man sees does God see, because man sees appearances but the Lord looks into the heart.” In a way, we are all the man born blind because we often do not see the way God sees. In Baptism we are claimed to live by faith with the vision of God. We are given a baptismal candle that we might live in the light of Christ that allows us to see as God sees. The choice is ours: we can live in and by the light of Christ, or we can shield our eyes from it.
What does the light of Christ allow us to see? In the light of Christ, we can see others as our brothers and sisters whom God has created, redeemed, and loves. The insight of faith reveals there are no strangers in our midst. Like the prodigal father and his two sons, we belong together. The insight of faith moves us to respect human life in all of its stages and conditions as a gift from God. It empowers us to treat others with compassion, charity, and empathy. The light of Christ, who was born in poverty, helps us see and uphold the dignity of each person, especially the poor, and discover the joy of the Beatitudes in our care for them. The Light of Christ, who was an immigrant, helps us discover, within our need for national security and personal safety, a way to welcome the stranger and care for immigrants who are, quite possibly, Christ standing at our door. The light of Christ, the Healer, provides a vision, beyond political struggles and philosophies, that helps us discover what is most important: the need to provide effective and adequate healthcare for all in our country. The light of Christ, who suffered, died, and rose from the dead helps us to accompany the dying and bring them the encouragement and hope of our faith. On this Laetare Sunday, we pray that we will always live in the light of Christ and share with all the insight of our faith.
May God’s Peace be Yours,