A brighter light comes out of darkness. Not the brightest thing to say but to make a point that light is more intense when contrast in darkness. It is to illuminate this point: if we come from a checkered past of wrong doing and are transformed to start to have goodness and right living and truth in life, we carry a stronger message of conversion, and perhaps hope, to those who know us.
And their reaction will be of disbelieving astonishment the greater the contrast when our past of misdemeanor is set against our present of virtuousness.
During the season of Lent, we constantly hear this invitation to “return to the Lord”. This invite to “return” is not only extended to those who have left the Church but rather it is extended to everyone to embrace transformation from bad to good and from good to better; to “return” ever closer to the presence of God in our life.
We are all similar to the blind man having experienced some form of blindness. Every one of us have wandered into the darkness of sin and were mired there. We indulged in a lifestyle contrary to the values of the gospel, and perhaps have a catalogue of the many wrong things we did. But one day, something catalytic happened and our life began to change. It was as though someone came along and daubed our eyes with a paste and suddenly our spiritual sight was restored.
When that happened, did we quickly act like the blind man “Lord, I believe and worship him” or did we react like the Pharisees doubting that it was truly Christ who acted in our life?
We all have great stories of our colourful past which “the Lord wants of us” to use. These are real, authentic life testimonies of the power of Christ transforming bad to good. It is especially powerful to the people who know us because they see the contrast between black and white, darkness and light. It is in this darkness-giving light that our lives are called to glorify God. “He was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
However we may also choose to remain blind by refusing to see with our hearts. Today’s secularized world continue to pull us away from believing in God. The glittering lights of temptations blinding us to the relevance of God. We are in danger of becoming blind like the Pharisees, gradually becoming doubtful and choosing not to believe, “this man cannot be from God”, and when confronted about God we become hostile and hurl abuse.
We can remain in the pews fulfilling the law of obligation on a Sunday, physically returned but spiritually not returning. We remain blind when we do not accept the empowerment to use our lives to proclaim this presence of God as a constant relevance in life. In us we hide a darkness. But this is darkness-giving light, and when we allow it to shine out, we daub the eyes of those around us. Through us, they see the brighter light of the glory of God.
4th Sunday in Lent