Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

    This long, dialogue-filled Gospel (John 9: 1-41), can take the mind and soul into diverse directions. It is filled with so many different symbolic meanings and historical insights. So many theological reflections have been written about it (for example, the wonderful one by Fr. Victor Hoagland). I don’t have much to add except my own personal feelings.

    Shortly after my conversion twelve years ago, what touched me the most, and still does today, was the statement by the cured blind man: “One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” (Jn10: 25b) I had   recently discovered, to my delight, the lyrics to “Amazing Grace”, after so many years of regarding the song as mere background music, or a much-used symbol of American culture. Suddenly, this song was about ME: “I was once lost, but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” This was exactly how the mercy of God had affected me. The eyes of my soul had been opened to a new spiritual reality that was impossible for me to deny. This is the supernatural gift of Faith. “How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed!”

    This miracle had been personally done to me by Jesus Christ Himself. After months of going to Mass to “try it out,” one blessed Sunday, when I saw that shining white Host raised by the priest at Consecration, 

I believed.  The Host shimmered like a sun and I had to close my eyes. Within my head, it still glowed and I heard Him tell me : “I claim you. You are mine. I love you and I will never let you go.” And He has kept His word.

    Which reminds me of my other favorite line in this Gospel: “I am the light of the world.” (Jn 9: 5) He certainly came as a bright, powerful light into my eyes. Even now, in the darkest moments, in the nights of insomnia, I look within my mind as through a bleak, black forest and I still discern in the distance, that light, calling me, giving me hope and strength. The Light is not an abstract “It” . It is a Person. It is my Beloved. 

    With the coronavirus crisis, we, the Body of Christ, find ourselves isolated from each other. My beloved prayer group, “The Cloud of Glory” has not been able to meet for Mass and prayers for the last two Sundays. We miss the Liturgy, the tangible Bread of Life, and each other, so much that it hurts. All we can do is communicate by text and phone conversations. We console each other . We share uplifting messages from all over the internet. We listen to our situations and anxieties. We decided for this past Sunday to try and remember each other at our usual Mass time, 11:00 a.m., and praise God , thank God, and pray for us  and for our threatened Humanity. We did this. I had the image of small candles, glowing within each of our separate homes, all of us in our Church, shining with the Light of the World in His love and comfort. Luminous threads of light spread like a web over our planet, reminiscent of those pictures from outer space that show the surface of the Earth at night with all those shining cities connected in the darkness.

    OK, in a way we are like the healed blind man after he was “thrown out” from the Temple. We might not be able to physically get back in for a while, but the Nazarene most certainly comes to find us, like He did for that man in Jerusalem. He fills our hearts with His Light and leads us to joyfully exclaim: “I do believe Lord.” 

    Dear Brethren, stay home safe and healthy in the hands of our shining, loving God. Reach out to each other. Share His Light.

Orlando Hernández

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