Richard S. Vosko

Musings on religion, art and architecture

Homily 26 March 2017 – I Can See Again

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Fourth Sunday in Lent A — 032617 – I Can See Again!

Click here for today’s biblical texts

I have often wondered how ophthalmologists interpret this gospel. When my father’s vision became more and more blurry we persuaded him to have a cataract operation. My dad could not believe the change. He could see again, clearly and in color. He called the doctor a miracle worker.

Would’t it be wonderful today if we had a miracle, something astonishing to open our eyes to the world around us? Our awareness of spaces and people is so confounded by distractions competing for our attention. Also, because, it is said that in this part of the world, we develop just two senses for getting information, we can easily overlook a lot.

The stories we hear during Lent serve to grab our attention and draw us more deeply into the life of Christ. Jesus had a keen sense of awareness so much so it seemed like he could look right into people’s hearts and minds. He was aware of their physical needs, their mental anxieties and spiritual cravings. Because of his acute perceptions he knew how to respond to people all the way up to the end of his life.

Last week Elizabeth [Simcoe] helped us imagine how Jesus looked right into the Samaritan woman’s heart and mind and recognized her desires. Once the woman, whose name [Photina] means seeker of wisdom, learned something more about who Jesus was, her eyes were opened, she saw the light and became one of Jesus’ earliest female disciples.

The one born blind in today’s gospel is another example of what an expanded vision can do. Once his eyes were opened the man also became a disciple of Christ and testified about Jesus being the One. The healing occurred at the pool at Siloam, a word that means “messenger.” People touched by God become God’s messengers.

In both readings Jesus moved people with touches and glances, words and actions. Just as the living water in Jacob’s well reminded us of our baptismal commitments, today’s text reminds us how the flame of the Easter candle spreads among us filling you and me with the light of Christ. 

As we approach the Easter feast these biblical texts are invitations to examine our sensibilities, sharpen our senses, broaden our perspectives about our lives and those of others around us. 

Scholar Guerric DeBona suggests it is also a season to scrutinize how “culture colludes with blurred vision by covering up the truth.” [1] John Martens adds, “the true light of Christ cannot be faked.” [2]

Fifty years ago today Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical on the Development of Peoples. He wrote, “We must make haste. Too many people are suffering. While some make progress, others stand still or move backwards; and the gap between them is widening.” [No. 29] How prophetic!

Taking action, speaking the truth, are important characteristics of being a disciple. Resisting laws that jeopardize health care for people, the protection of our environment, liberty for strangers, help for struggling families, can produce results.

The NETWORK Advocates of Justice Inspired by Catholic Sisters insists that “Catholic social justice teaches us to look at reality through the eyes of those who have been made poor by oppression and injustice.”

Both the Samaritan woman and the one who was blind took action once they sensed the presence of God in their lives. We are urged to do the same, to be aware of the irresistible light of Christ glowing within us. When that happens we become the light for everyone around us to see. We do not put it under a bushel basket.

At the Easter Vigil we will initiate Christopher Dean into the church. Bathed in baptismal waters and the light of Christ, Chris will join us in giving new life to others. Walking with him on his journey has inspired us to renew our own commitments to the gospel. 

Christopher, we continue to pray that your eyes, and ours, will be opened wide to see the radiance of Christ shining in our midst.

____

  1.  DeBona, Guerric. Between the Ambo and the Altar: Biblical Preaching and the Roman Missal Year A. (Collegeville: Liturgical Press) 2013, 76
  2.  Martens, John W. The Word on the Street. Year A (Collegevile: Liturgical Press) 2016, 31
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Author: Richard S. Vosko

Richard S. Vosko, Ph.D., Hon. AIA, is an internationally known sacred space planner. He is a presbyter in the Diocese of Albany who enjoys the classroom as much as the pulpit. On Sundays he presides at worship at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Albany, NY. For more information on Vosko’s background, his projects, publications and speaking engagements please go to his website. For his homilies and occasional musings about religion, art and architecture go to his blog. Comments, questions and suggestions are always welcomed there.

2 thoughts on “Homily 26 March 2017 – I Can See Again

  1. What a brilliant and inspiring reflection. I can’t wait to hear it today with our community. Thank you! Don

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  2. Even with 20/20 vision, I get blinded by my own naiveté. “Culture colluding with blurred vision” opens me to new sightseeing of our current socio-political climate and discovering vision for a brightened (Easter?) future for the oppressed. Another fine example of Fa. V’s “excellence-in-preaching.”

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