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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Wednesday

Embraced by Lent: Where are We with Ourselves? “Seeing is Believing, Believing is Seeing”

(Click here for complete readings. Audio option. Courtesy, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.)
Traditionally during Lent, especially on the Fourth Sunday in Year A, we hear the story of the man born blind, from the Gospel of John. When a parish community has members in the RCIA, this gospel is proclaimed. I love this gospel!
 
We know the story: man born blind, waiting by pool of Siloam with no one to lead him to the pool when the waters are rippled with the Spirit of God. Jesus takes pity on the man, mixes his saliva with some dirt, applies mixture to man’s eyes and tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam (which means sent). Man cured. Viola!
 
Now, the rest of the story. The man’s neighbors are confused. “Isn’t this the one that used to sit and beg?” (John 9:8) Some said “yes” others said, “It looks like him.” “Who did this for you?” they ask. “I don’t know, some man named Jesus,” comes the response.
 
They take him to the Pharisees who question him, “How did this happen? His response, “I don’t know. A man named Jesus mixed some clay, put it on my eyes, told me to go wash in the pool and now I SEE.” (cf. John 9:15)
 
The Pharisees enter into a philosophical debate. Gee, couldn’t they just SEE what happened? NO! They couldn’t see! They didn’t want to SEE, they chose to remain blind. They summon the man’s parents. “How did this happen? Is this your son?” “Yes, he is our son; yes he was born blind, and yes, now he can SEE. We don’t know how it happened. He is of age, ask him yourselves.” (John 9:20-21)
 
They bring the man back, question him all over again, and still his response is the same. They accuse Jesus of being a sinner. The man replies, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I know is that I was blind and now I SEE. Go ask him yourselves. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” (John 9:25, 27) They threw him out of the temple. Out of SIGHT, out of mind, or so they hoped. He walked into the LIGHT — they chose to remain in the DARK.
 
Jesus found him and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking to you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord.” (John 9:35-38)
 
I hope and pray to meet that man someday. Here was a man who knew who he was. A sinner, blind since birth, given his sight back by God, a true worshipper, a man of faith, a man simple of heart and spirit. He knew who he was! I’m still trying to figure myself out. How about you?
 
Father James McDonald professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1984 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1990. He is currently stationed at San Alfonso Retreat House in Long Branch, NJ.
 
More reflections:
Getting Back to Basics: What Lent IS and IS NOT
Slowing Down, Entering the Desert
A New Look at Life — Transfiguration, Wow!
Where Am I With God? Listen.