WELCOME TO GOD’S HOLY, CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH!
Today, as the Church prays the second scrutiny with the Elect, we seek the light of the Lord in their lives and in our own. So much of our world can seem to be covered in darkness. Let us pray today to live as children of light.
“Siding with the Outsider“
The man was blind from birth. Neither he nor his parents were guilty at all, but his destiny was marked from the start. People would always look at him as a sinner punished by God. Even Jesus’ disciples wonder whether the sin comes from the blind man or from his parents.
Jesus sees the man’s plight in a wholly different light. In the encounter, he only thinks about rescuing this poor man from a disgraceful life of begging, despised by all as a sinner. Jesus feels himself called to defend, welcome, and cure precisely those who live like that, excluded and humiliated by others.
After a drawn-out cure in which the blind man gets to collaborate with Jesus, he discovers light for the first time. It is a healing encounter that has changed his life. Finally he can enjoy his proper human dignity, without fear of being an embarrassment for anyone. But he’s still under pressure. The religious leaders feel themselves obligated to control the purity of their religion. They are the ones who know who isn’t a sinner and who is. Only they will decide if he can be received into the religious community, and enter the Temple.
The cured beggar openly confesses that Jesus was the one who spoke to him and cured him, but the Pharisees irritably reject that a miracle has happened: “We know that that man is a sinner!” they say. Still the man insists in defending Jesus: “He is a prophet, someone sent by God.” The Pharisees can’t accept that view: “Are you trying to teach us, and you a sinner through and through, ever since you were born?”
The Gospel says that when Jesus heard they had ejected him, “he went in search of him”. Their final exchange was brief. When Jesus asks him if he believes in the Messiah, the expelled man says: “Sir, tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.” Jesus answers him quietly: “You have seen him; he is speaking to you.” The beggar then exclaims: “Lord, I believe.”
That’s how Jesus is. He always has a welcome for those who aren’t officially welcomed in a religious setting. He doesn’t abandon those who seek and love him, even though they are excluded from faith communities and institutions. It’s a sobering thought, that those who don’t fit in our churches have a privileged place in Jesus’ heart.
Who will bring that message today to those groups who at any time have heard unjust condemnation from blind religious leaders; who come to a liturgy fearful of being recognized; who can’t receive communion at peace in our Mass; who see themselves obligated to keep faith with Jesus in the silence of their hearts, secretly and clandestinely? My unknown brothers and sisters, don’t ever forget: Even when others may reject you, Jesus welcomes you.
(José Antonio Pagola)
Gospel: John 9:1-41
As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, “Go to Siloam and wash.” Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”
The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” MORE..