The man born blind is certainly the star in today’s Gospel. Of course, Jesus gets things started by curing him. But the man’s gradual coming to faith is what stirs us. He moves from darkness to light on several levels—physically, intellectually, and spiritually. After Jesus cures him with some clay, spit, and a wash in the pool of Siloam, the neighbors show up, asking first whether this is the one who used to sit and beg, then how his eyes were opened. The man replies that “the man called Jesus” healed him. Then the Pharisees appear, hear his testimony, and pronounce Jesus as not from God since he healed on the Sabbath. The blind man counters them, declaring that Jesus is a “prophet.” After the Pharisees drag in the man’s parents, who duck the controversy by declaring their son old enough to answer for himself, the blind man boldly affirms that Jesus is “from God.” Finally, Jesus shows up again and asks the man whether he believes in the “Son of Man.” First he says yes, then goes even further, calling Jesus “Lord” and worshiping him. Quite a change in how he “sees” Jesus!
How has your own naming of Jesus changed?
El ciego de nacimiento es, sin duda, la estrella en el Evangelio de hoy. Claro está, Jesús comienza a poner todo en marcha al curarlo, pero es la fe gradual del hombre la que nos mueve. Él va de la oscuridad a la luz en varios niveles—físico, intelectual y espiritualmente. Después de que Jesús lo cura con un poco de barro, saliva y un lavado en la piscina de Siloé, los vecinos se presentan preguntando primero si este es el que se sentaba mendigando y cómo se le habían abierto los ojos. Este responde que "el hombre llamado Jesús" lo sanó. A continuación aparecen los fariseos, escuchan su testimonio, y declaran que Jesús no es de Dios, ya que sanó en el día del sábado. El ciego los contradice, atestiguando que Jesús es un "profeta." Después que los fariseos arrastran a los padres del hombre, quienes evaden la controversia respondiendo que su hijo es de edad suficiente para responder por sí mismo, el hombre ciego afirma audazmente que Jesús es "de Dios." Finalmente, Jesús aparece de nuevo y le pregunta si él cree en el "Hijo del Hombre". Primero dice sí, y luego va más allá llamando a Jesús "Señor", y lo adora; un gran cambio en la forma en la que él "ve" a Jesús!
¿Cómo ha cambiado la manera en la que te refieres a Jesús?
God often works through human thirst. When the Israelites grew thirsty in the desert, they began to complain that Moses had led them out there to die. Not a little exasperated, Moses moved the complaint up the line to God, who had been directing the Exodus event from the beginning. To make the point that God can, does, and will provide, God has Moses tap water from a rock. The complaining stopped, for the time being. Thirst brought the Samaritan woman to a well at noon. She thought the only water she was going to get was what she could put in her bucket. Like the people in the desert, she found the rock of our salvation, waiting to slake her deepest thirst. The One who first asked her for a drink ended up being the source of living water, welling up to eternal life. This water was hers for the asking and she drank it in. Notice how she moves from seeing Jesus simply as a thirsty Jew, to acknowledging him as a prophet, to knowing him as the Messiah. In the end the entire village knows him as "the savior of the world."
How can Jesus relieve your thirst?
Dios, a menudo trabaja a través de la sed humana. Cuando los israelitas tuvieron sed en el desierto, comenzaron a quejarse diciendo que Moisés los había llevado allí para morir. Moisés, sumamente irritado, entonces elevó su queja a Dios, quien había dirigido el evento del Éxodo desde el principio. Para enfatizar el punto que Dios puede proveer, que Dios en efecto, provee y que continuará proveyendo, Dios hace que Moisés extraiga agua de una roca. Las quejas cesaron, por el momento. Por otro lado, fue la sed la que atrajo a la samaritana al pozo en el mediodía. Ella pensó que la única agua que recibiría era la que podía echar en su cubeta. Como la gente del desierto, la samaritana también encontró la roca de su salvación, la cual esperaba calmar su sed más profunda. El que le pidió agua, terminó siendo la fuente de agua viva que brota para la vida eterna. Esta agua, fue suya con sólo pedirla; y, ella la bebió. Note como cambió de ver a Jesús como un simple Judío sediento, y comienza a reconocerlo como profeta, el Mesías. Al final, todo el pueblo lo llega a reconocer también como "el salvador del mundo."
¿Cómo puede Jesús calmar su sed?
People go traveling in today’s readings—into the mystery of God. “Go forth from the land of your kin...to a land I will show you,” God says, calling Abram to a new life. “I will make you a great nation,” promised God. And just like that, “Abram went as the LORD directed him.” Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a mountain, where they see him transformed into a creature of brilliant light, catching a glimpse of his divinity as he holds conversation with Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, representing the prophets. Then the apostles hear God calling them to “listen to him.” Jesus will then lead them on the way to Jerusalem. Abram’s journey will end on another mountain, where he is told to sacrifice his son; Jesus’ journey will end on Calvary, nailed to a cross. The apostles each will have their own journey to make into the future God has opened for them. Lent is a forty-day journey, taking us to a holy place where we will renew our baptismal commitment on Easter Sunday.
Where is God leading you this Lent?
Las personas emprenden un viaje hacia el misterio de Dios a través de las lecturas de hoy. "Sal de la tierra de tu familia...a un lugar que te mostraré ", le dice Dios a Abram llamándolo a una vida nueva. "Yo haré de ti una gran nación", le prometió a Dios. Y así, "Abram partió, tal como el Señor se lo había ordenado. Por otra parte, Jesús toma a Pedro, Santiago y a Juan a la cima de una montaña, donde lo ven transformarse en un ser de luz brillante, vislumbrando su divinidad mientras él sostiene una conversación con Moisés, el representante de la ley; y con Elías, representando a los profetas. Es entonces, que los apóstoles reciben el llamado de Dios a "escucharle." Jesús, después los guía en el camino a Jerusalén. El viaje de Abram, termina en otra montaña, donde se le pide que sacrifique a su hijo. La jornada de Jesús terminará en el Calvario, clavado en una cruz. Los apóstoles, tendrán cada uno su propia jornada que recorrer en el futuro que Dios ha abierto para ellos. La Cuaresma, es un recorrido de cuarenta días, que nos lleva a un lugar sagrado en donde renovaremos nuestro compromiso bautismal el domingo de Pascua.
¿A dónde le está Dios dirigiendo en esta Cuaresma?
Every Lent we go to the desert with Jesus to witness his being tempted by the devil. Going to the desert might not sound too appealing: hot during the day, cold at night; inhabited by rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions. But lessons are learned there. God shaped the former slaves of Egypt into the people of Israel during its forty years of wandering. And in the desert Jesus teaches us what it means to be God's beloved child, as we witness his quick exchanges with the devil. Satan: "If you really are God's child, jump and let God catch you." Jesus: "I don't test God." Satan: "Worship me and I will give you this entire world." Jesus: "I only worship God." Jesus' responses came from the book of Deuteronomy, part of the Torah, the law given to Moses expressing God's covenant with Israel. Where Adam and Eve yielded to the temptation to be like God and Israel set up a golden calf to worship in place of God, Jesus put his trust in the Father.
How is God calling you to do the same?READ MORE
Last week Jesus’ words may have sounded impossible. This week he sounds irresponsible. Don’t worry, he says? Don’t worry about what you will eat or drink or wear? Really? Right; no problem. With global warming, hurricanes devastating communities, countries with unstable leaders gaining nuclear capability, record gun sales, savings for the future evaporating, paying off school debts overwhelming, finding full-time work so difficult, being told not to worry seems quite out of touch. But Jesus is not talking from the perspective of this world’s analysis, but from the vantage point of a prophet announcing the coming of god’s kingdom. He is calling us to get our priorities in order. There is nothing more important than living a life that trusts in God’s goodness and care. God can be looked on as a mother who will never forget the child of her womb, never be without tenderness for her child. As Pope John Paul I once said, “God is the father, but God is also the mother.” And this mother will never forget her children or abandon them.
Can you make that radical decision to trust God over and above anything or anyone else?READ MORE
It all sounds improbable, if not impossible: “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” “You are the Temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you.” “If someone hits you on your right cheek, offer him your left. If anyone wants your shirt, give him your coat. Love your enemies. Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” I remember once reading that holiness is wholeness. Being whole or complete, being holy, can only come from God. With God at work within us and through us, we can be whole, and therefore holy. With the Holy Spirit at work in us, something that we believe began at Baptism, we can be holy; we can be what God wants us to be. We eventually realize we do not belong to ourselves, but, as Paul writes to his contentious Corinthians, we belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God. The sign of the cross we make at the beginning and end of every Mass reminds us that we live with the life of the Trinity. The Trinity works in and through us, loving others.
What limits do you put on what God can do with you?READ MORE
What are you looking forward to these days? A friend being treated for cancer once told me how important it was to have something to look forward to - a trip, a visit with a friend, even a phone call. But isn't this true for all of us? Having something good coming in our future helps us to move through difficult times and to bear suffering more peacefully.
Advent begins by holding up what believers have to look forward to at the end of all time, and at the end of one's own time on earth. The prophet Isaiah expresses it as people gathering on God's holy mountain to be instructed by God and to live in peace.
The words of Jesus call us to be ready for the return of the Son og Man, the Lord himself in glorified form. We get a "taste" of this now at Eucharist, when the Lord comes to us in word and sacrament. So be attentive, wake up. Even now he comes to meet us.
Do you live trusting that something - rather, Someone - good is coming?
The image of a shepherd became linked to the role of the king in the Old Testament. The leaders of Israel came to David and asked him to shepherd them as king, fulfilling what the Lord had said to David: "You shall shepherd my people Israel and be commander of Israel."
Jesus picked up on this image of the good shepherd in his preaching and carried it out in his actions, searching out the blind and the deaf, the lame and the sick, the possessed and the grief-stricken. Even from the cross, Jesus was seeking and saving the lost. Over the heckling of the crowd and the verbal abuse on one of his crucified companions, Jesus responded to the faith of the nameless thief on his other side. (Tradition calls him Dismas.) Even as Jesus is laying down his life for his sheep, he is also carrying one on his shoulders into the kingdom.
How does it hep you to see Christ the king as Jesus the shepherd, leading us to green pastures where he feeds us, gives us rest, and finally leads us through the dark valley of death into the kingdom of light and life?
As the end of the church year approaches, the readings call our attention to the "end time," that "Day of the Lord," referred to by both Old Testament prophets and most New Testament writings.
Throughout history, groups have predicted the end time was right around the corner. In our own day, such dates have come and gone. And we're still here! It may be more helpful to live aware that, while we do not know when the end of the world will come, we do know that one day we will face our own end, dying to this life as we know it. We can take comfort in Jesus' final words today: "By your perseverance you will secure your lives." For, if we persevere in faith, hope, and love, if we strive to bring justice, mercy, forgiveness, and peace in to our world, whenever the Day of the Lord comes, we will be counted among the just and experience it as the arrival of "the sun of justice with its healing rays." In the meantime, as Paul advices, go about your lives, working quietly to bring about the kingdom of God even now.
How does life's eventual end influence your days?