4th Sunday in Lent (March 30, 2014)

Christ the Teacher

This week’s Readings

I just love Sunday’s Gospel of the man born blind – he is so saucy and cheeky in the way he confronts the religious leaders. He wasn’t about to buy their “Because we said so” argument; he knew from his personal experience what was true and right.

The blind man reiterates that three times. After his healing, he goes home. His neighbors and friends simply don’t believe it’s him. When he tells them about Jesus and the clay and washing in the pool and being healed … they don’t believe him. Even more, they turn him in to authorities. And all the blind man has done is tell the story of what he has experienced: I met a man and He healed me. ?

The second trial happens before those authorities. They already know that he can’t possibly be telling the truth because they already know how God acts in the world; anybody from God, anybody holy, does not heal on the Sabbath. So either the guy is lying or his healing doesn’t come from God. But the man born blind just tells his story: I met a man and He healed me.

His parents take the 5th: He is an adult; ask him what happened. So he’s arrested again. In this third trial, they won’t take no for an answer. They are going to make this guy tow the line. But he is faithful to his experience: I met a man and he healed me.

I think this very much parallels what is going on in the Church today. As part of the preparation for the synod on the Family in 2015, Pope Francis distributed a questionnaire to the world’s bishops and asked them to make sure the folks in the pews had a chance to provide their input. Many bishops have (particularly in Europe and Asia), many have not.

The results so far from the people in the pews should surprise no one, except for those who don’t want to see or hear. Worldwide, most respondents said they understand the Church’s teaching on birth control, pastoral care of the divorced and remarried, homosexuality, cohabitation, etc. But a majority have said those teachings are not an important part of their personal decision-making. They first and foremost look to their own lived experience colored by their spiritual relationship to Jesus. “I met a man and He healed me.”

We live in interesting times, eh?

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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