“Dare to see things as they are”: A homily for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (A)

Cpoolardinal Newman once said that we should “dare to see things as they are.”  That is what makes a true Christian. A true Christian can see things as they are.  We are meant to see the value, the beauty, the greatness of things, of people.  That is what it means to have eyes of the Lord.  We see an example of this in our first reading. Samuel is sent from the Lord to find the son of Jesse that the Lord willed to be the next king.  All the sons line up, all except one.  Samuel eventually says, “Is this all your sons?”  To which Jesse replies, “Well, there’s David, too, but he’s the youngest and weakest you don’t want him…he’s in the field.”  But God did want David.  The Lord says in the first reading, “Do not judge from his appearance…..Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”

To be a true Christian is to see below the surface of things, as the Lord did with David.  The world sees a piece of bread; the Catholic sees the body and blood of Jesus. The world sees “just a beggar” (like in our gospel); the Catholic sees a son of God, made in his image. The world sees a tissue; we see a life. The world sees an alien and accounts him no value or dignity or hospitality; we see a brother and give him a home.  The world sees the church as an institution; we see the church as the living body of Christ.  We must have eyes of faith!!  This is what it means to have a Catholic worldview–to see things are they really are.

And yet how often we are blind!  You see what happened in our Gospel?  There had been a blind man, a man everyone knew.  They’d been around him every day, and never could he see. All of the sudden Jesus fixes his blindness–and the people of that town, what did they do!?  They started in at Jesus, “What are you doing??? It’s the Sabbath!”  I’m sorry, but if Jesus healed someone I’d known for so long–I think I’d have fallen on my knees, or wept, or shouted, or clapped….but so narrow was their vision, so closed were their eyes…that they missed the miracle.  It went right over their heads.

We miss so many miracles.  In our blindness, we so often neglect to see things as they are. Our eyes are closed and we don’t see the value, the beauty, the greatness of what and who God places in front of us every single moment of every day.

There’s a beautiful book.  It’s called One Thousand Gifts: A dare to love fully where you are. The challenge of this book is to write down 1000 things we’re thankful for, 1000 ways we have been touched by God’s grace.  It’s easy for the first 100 or so.  But then comes the challenge.  And I like this challenge. Because it demands that we have our antenna up, it demands that we have our eyes open.  It demands that we not be blind.

When we have eyes that see, when we dare to see things as they are, when we don’t miss the miracles….then what we end up seeing everywhere….is Jesus!!!!!!   Jesus before and beside and behind and below and above and everywhere.  As St. Patrick says:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me