Jesus is more than willing to heal us of our fears, our prejudices, and our illnesses and it doesn't matter what day it is or what time it is. In today's gospel we see him healing a man blind from birth. He makes a paste with spittle and dust and covers the eyes of the man and tells him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. He washes and his sight is restored.
There are people who witness this event and he is quickly identified as the one who begs for alms. The Pharisees are more interested in disputing the healing, the good intention, and the witness. They are far more interested in saying that Jesus broke the Sabbath law and also arrogantly dismissing the poor blind man as a sinner through and through. The twisted thinking of the time was that he was blind because either he sinned or someone in his family tree sinned.
In last week's gospel Jesus goes to the periphery. There he calls a Samaritan Woman to faith. He was sitting down by Jacob's well in the Samaritan town of Sycar in the heat of the day and he noticed her coming to draw water. This was curious because most of the hustle and bustle of drawing water happens in the cool of the morning and there people would exchange the morning's news. At mid-day the woman comes the well alone and it becomes apparent that there is a reason for this which Jesus sees. Yet he calls her to faith in him and in turn she goes to the townspeople to bring them to Jesus. This 'sinner' becomes an evangelist.
The blind man too is a witness to Jesus Christ. This 'sinner from the day he was born' is called to witness to the fact that Jesus is the Son of Man. And as he looks at Jesus he professes his faith; "Lord, I believe."
Jesus crosses the border for you and me each day and calls us - sinners - to repentance and then to witness to him. It doesn't matter what day or time it is, he doesn't operate in chronological order, but in Kairos; God's time. Now.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Jesus is tempted in the Desert. (Matt 4:1-11)
The desert is seen as a place of foreboding. It is a place of danger and where one can find it difficult to live and survive. In the desert we can be attacked by hunger, thirst, heat, cold, and wild animals. We can also get lost in the desert.
There is also the desert within where we can be faced with our own personal difficulties and of course our own sins. These can be unpleasant and facing them can challenge us and take us out of our comfort zone.
Jesus goes into the desert after he is baptized as a preparation for his public ministry. He is fortified by the Holy Spirit. He fasts and prays while he is there and in a physically weakened state he is tempted by the devil.
In Matthew's Gospel we see Jesus tempted in three ways; the first is to trust no longer in God's providence... "Tell these stones to turn to bread." The second temptation about putting God to the test. "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.." The third temptation is to compromise the unique place of God in our worship. "I will give you all of these, if you fall at my feet and worship me."
While Jesus is physically weak and tired, he is morally and spiritually strong. When we go into the desert, when we give up something or take on some self-sacrifice for Lent, we become morally and spiritually strong.