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I Once Was Blind....

    Today we celebrate Laetare Sunday, or Rejoice Sunday.  'Laetare'  come from the latin word for rejoice. It is laetare Sunday because the first word of the opening antiphon is 'rejoice Jerusalem." This past Thursday marked the half way point of lent, and so in the past they would always rejoice, and to refocus their hearts on this Lenten journey because the Passion of Christ was to happen soon, However, they moved the celebration to the Sunday for the whole church to celebrate. Advent as it's counter part Gaudete Sunday, in which the purple begins to fade into rose and then into white at Christmas and Easter.

     Todays optional Gospel, is of the Man born blind. This Gospel is rich in beauty and gives a glimpse of the nature of Christ and how he works. Compared to the overall length of the Gospel, the actual physical healing of the man happens fairly quickly and then if broken down into different encounters with people and how they react to the healing.

    For the first time this man was able to the world. It wasn't the waters that healed the man, it was indeed the encounter with Jesus that had healed this man. We are told that it isn't sin that caused this mans blindness (in that time they thought that someone's sin gave a person a disability) rather he was blind so that Gods works may be shown in him.  This healing shows that  It wasn't only the mans eyes that were blind but also the eyes of his heart.  The encounter with Jesus opened both of these eyes.

     As the Gospel progresses the man changes is identity of Jesus. First he is a random person, and then becomes a prophet and finally at the end of the Gospel, the man believes that Jesus is the Son of God. But it is only through time and encounter that this man comes to believe.  The mans heart is also opened and is able to see the truth, the holiness is Jesus. Even to the point where he makes a public acclamation, " Lord, I believe."

    Lent is the time that our eyes, hearts, and souls are able to see. We are always on a continuous journey of opening our eyes to see Christ and his love. Lent is the time where we can attune our eyes to finding Christ in others, and in the activities of our day.

    How often is it in our lives when we feel stressed, worried, and go throughout our day that we feel God has forgotten us or abandoned us? Well maybe it isn't the fact that he abandoned us, maybe it is more to with that we cannot find him,  Imagine standing in front of a sign in a foreign country. You wouldn't be able to understand the sign as it is in their native language and you have never seen the language or writing style before. To you it looks like a bunch of lines and squiggles but to the people, it is really a sign giving directions and filled with advertisements.

    In a similar way, if we can't find God, it doesn't mean that he isn't there, it just means he is there is a way that we haven't seen him before and so we only see squiggles. Lent is the time when we can journey to begin to make sense of all these squiggles in our lives. It is a time when we search for God in others and in our lives.

   The first readings today has a phrase that I absolutely love, " Do not look on his appearance... for the Lord does not see as the human sees; the human looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." The Lord looks at the centre of the person- the heart. It is the place of love, of compassion, of mercy.  We have a tendency to look at people directly on appearances. Look at todays Gospel, the disciples and Pharisees, see only the blindness of the person, and assume he is a sinful man. But Jesus knows differently. He calls the man, and knows that he is to show the greatness of God.
     Our lenten challenge is also to look beyond a persons look, and like Jesus, look at the persons heart; who they really are. Appearances do not define people. Everyone has a story, a history and most importantly dignity. During lent especially we are challenged to look at everyone with dignity and to see their heart, and not judge them based off of outward appearances.

     The heart of every Christian is prayer. Prayer connects with God and helps us to understand him better. Through prayer we begin to see clearer the message on the sign and begin to realise that the sign is how God is calling us, and where he can be found.

     As we begin the second half of Lent, may we come to see the Lord. May we come to find Christ in our lives. Asking him through constant prayer for help to be able to see him in our lives. May we come to Christ, asking him for sight in our lives. Asking him for the gift to see him active in our lives. AS we journey through lent may we focus on Christ, the perfect model. May we come and search for God, so that at the end of our Lenten journey we to may be able to say, " Lord, I believe."



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