4th Sunday of Lent
From the Pastor’s Desk
March 19, 2023
“Do you want to become his disciples, too?”
Brothers and Sisters,
When I was a student at Carmelite University, the Teresianum in Rome, I remember needing to move closer to the board to get a better eye line of what we were studying. Though at the time, perhaps due to the stubbornness of youth, I never equated my required change in location due to poor eyesight. Honestly, it wasn’t until a few years later, when my primary doctor recommended that I make an appointment with an optometrist; after all, my insurance would cover the cost; I admitted how bad my eyesight really was. At the time, I was shocked by the medical standard by which we humans are supposed to see, and ever since, glasses have become a regular attachment to my face. When I consider the circumstances of stubbornness around needing glasses, I’d like to think that had my impairment been dramatic, to the point of near blindness; I would have admitted to my need for help sooner. Still, I could easily ignore my need’s extent because I had become skilled in making accommodations, or at times, excuses, to make up for my inability to see clearly.
How we view (or do not view) persistent sin can be similar to my eyeglass story. One particular blindness could be a prejudice or the ways we could be (knowingly or unknowingly) contributing to systemic injustices. Or, we may dismiss a reoccurring minor failing as not a big deal or keep missing cues from the Spirit about how we should honor and serve others. When our Lord encountered the blind man in today’s Gospel, both were very much aware of a profound physical difference — blindness. Yet, the healing of the afflicted man brought the Pharisees’ spiritual blindness into perspective. These scholars were versed in the law and prophets but failed to recognize Jesus’ divine authority, the long-awaited Messiah. And as such, they are stunned by the humble question the recently healed man poses, “Do you want to become his disciples, too?” To become an authentic disciple means to imitate the teacher, Jesus. While Jesus could certainly cure us instantly, He often does not. I suspect he wants us to see in our weakness the invitation to rely upon the Lord and His grace rather than ourselves.
Likewise, we must learn to depend on others who accompany us. The fourth pastoral priority in Light Brightly Visible 2.0 illuminates the folly of relying solely on oneself. Our Creator never designed us to live alone, even if we singularly follow God in isolation. Remember, when Jesus sent forth his disciples, he ensured they had companions for encouragement and accountability. In full disclosure, relying on others and investing in relationships are weak personal links of mine. Through God’s help, though, I’m improving, and as a result, I’ve encountered so many strong friendships at OLPH. I’m also inspired to see so many of you grow in faith and fellowship together.
As a reminder, this Safe Haven Sunday, I encourage parents and families to be attentive to the seriousness of pornography. Though seemingly ubiquitous, exposure to porn is not a natural part of growing up or an activity that doesn’t hurt consenting adults. Like other addictions, pornography pulls the consumer into a self-centered world where others are exploited to feed an unnatural and unholy need. Please take this opportunity to ensure your homes are safe havens. Text “SECURE” to 66866 or visit learn.covenanteyes.com/challenge-equipped/ to receive seven days of free emailed digital tips. Likewise, download the free ebook Connected: How Strong Family Relationships Lead to Internet-Safe Kids at learn.covenanteyes.com/connected-shs/.
As Lent continues, please note the additional opportunities to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation [https://olphparish.org/lent-2023/#lentconfessions], especially our upcoming Lenten Penance Service on Monday, March 27, at 7 pm. Please take up God’s invitation to experience His mercy in confession.
And finally, on this feast of St. Joseph, please pray for Fathers that they may embrace their vocation and be strong protectors and Christ-like role models. Please also keep in prayer our Confirmation candidates, as Bishop Bruce Lewandowski will confirm them next Sunday afternoon.