Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, March 26, 2017: I was blind and now I see...

Do you share God’s vision? 

   We generally see what we want to see -- how often do we see with God’s eyes?  In the First Book of Samuel, God sends the prophet to anoint a new king from among the sons of Jesse of Bethlehem.  Naturally, everyone expects the eldest son to be chosen; instead, Samuel anoints David, the youngest, who is tending the sheep as future king of Israel.  Not as man sees does God see, the Lord tells Samuel, because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.  David will see with the heart, as is made clear in Psalm 23, for he knows that it is God who guides him, who leads him.  David understands his relationship with the Lord, and makes every effort to share God’s vision as God’s shepherd-king on earth.

   In John’s Gospel, the Pharisees have a twisted point of view; they are caught up in their own vision of how things should be.  In contrast to the blind man whom Jesus heals, the Pharisees suffer from vision that is becoming dimmer and dimmer until eventually they will be blind – spiritually blind.  The blind man himself sees with the heart, is able to see, because he believes; he has faith in Jesus even before Jesus has died and risen.  His physical blindness is incidental to his spiritual vision; he sees what the Pharisees do not, that Jesus is a prophet, the Son of ManI was blind and now I see.

   Paul, in his Letter to the Ephesians, equates clear vision with faith and blindness with unbelief.  If you enter into life with Christ, Paul tells the Ephesians, you come to see clearly, to see as God sees, to share God’s vision, for everything exposed by the light becomes visible.  For us today, Jesus remains that light; through faith, we too can be light in the Lord, sharing clearer vision, sharing God’s vision, knowing that, if we are open, we who were once blind may now see.

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source:  Wordle

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A woman unclean, ashamed, used and abused (Erin Moon)

   I am a woman 
of no distinction, of little importance. 
I am a woman 
of no reputation save that which is bad. 
You whisper as I pass by and cast judgmental glances, 
though you don’t really take the time to look at me, 
or even get to know me, 
for to be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known, 
and otherwise what’s the point of doing either one of them 
in the first place? 
I want to be known.  
I want someone to look at my face and not just see 
two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears, 
but to see all that I am and could be, 
all my loves, hopes, and fears. 
That’s too much to hope for, to wish for, or pray for, 
so I don’t, not anymore. 
Now I keep to myself, and by that I mean the pain that 
keeps me in my own private jail, 
the pain that’s brought me here at midday to this well. 
To ask for a drink is no big request, but to ask it of me, 
a woman unclean, ashamed, used and abused, 
an outcast, a failure, a disappointment, a sinner? 
No drink passing from these hands to your lips 
could ever be refreshing, 
only condemning, as I’m sure you condemn me now… 
you don’t. 
You’re a man of no distinction though of the utmost importance, 
a man with little reputation, at least so far. 
You whisper and tell me to my face what all those glances 
have been about, and you take the time to 
look at me. 
You don’t need to get to know me, 
for to be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known, 
and you know me, 
you actually know me, all of me and everything about me. 
Every thought inside and hair on top of my head, 
every hurt stored up, every hope, every dread, 
my past and my future, all I am and could be, 
you tell me everything, you tell me about me. 
And that which, when spoken by another, 
would bring hate and condemnation, coming from you, 
brings love, grace, mercy, hope and salvation. 
I’ve heard of one to come who’d save a wretch like me, 
and here in my presence, you say, I am he. 
To be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known, 
and I just met you but I love you, 
I don’t know you but I want to get you. 

Let me run back to town, this is way too much for just me. 
There are others, brothers, sisters, lovers, haters, 
the good and the bad, sinners and saints, 
who should hear what you’ve told me, 
who should see what you’ve shown me, 
who should taste what you gave me, 
who should feel how you forgave me, 
for to be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known, 
and they all need this, too, we all do, 
need it for our own. 

To hear a powerful performance of this poetry by Erin Moon, 
click on the video below:

Monday, March 20, 2017

To love is to be vulnerable (C. S. Lewis)

   To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements.  Lock it up; save in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.  To love is to be vulnerable. 
 --C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

To be alive is to be vulnerable (Madeleine L'Engle)

   When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-ups we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.

--Madeleine L’Engle

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, March 19, 2017: Sir, give me this water...

It is hard to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, 
even in the embrace of God. 

   In the Book of Exodus, the Israelites grumble in the desert:  Why did you ever make us leave Egypt? they ask God.  Was it just to have us die here of thirst?  In their vulnerability, they can’t imagine that God will take care of them; they need water and see none around them, and so they are ready to wash their hands of God (so to speak), to forget the God who delivered them out of Egypt.  Their hearts are hardened, not vulnerable; they reject vulnerability in order to grumble all the louder.  But as Psalm 95 reminds us, If today we hear God’s voice, we must not harden our hearts – our hearts were meant to be receptive, vulnerable to the God who made us, open to his blessings.

   The Samaritan woman in John’s Gospel is not hard-hearted like the Israelites. Although she is wary of meeting Jesus – a single man alone at the well – she is open to his offer of water, living water, water that is life-giving in ways the Israelites before her could not possibly have dreamed of.  She is herself vulnerable, outcast by her peers because of her irregular relations with men, but Jesus reassures her that what she truly needs flows directly from God, thus offering her the connection, the spiritual intimacy, she lacks in human relations.  Jesus is her access to God, if only she will let herself be vulnerable and allow him in.  This is the access by faith of which Paul speaks in his Letter to the Romans:  the love of God that has been poured out into our hearts.  Like water from a rock, it is a miracle, the gift of God; like the living water of Christ, God’s love will ensure that we never thirst… if only we accept his love, and accept to love him from a place of vulnerability, ever trusting that hope does not disappoint.

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.

Image source:  Wordle