The Grace of Connecting the Dots
Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.
A reflection from Father Tudgay for the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
A famous “Dad saying”: ”You can’t see the forest for the trees!” What does that actually mean, anyway? I think it means that failure to keep life’s events in context prohibits us from seeing things as they really are. Obviously there is the tendency to blow things a bit out of proportion sometimes, especially when circumstances are critical or stressful. But this “Dad saying” has relevance in the spiritual life, too, because we’re invited to pause and consider the “bigger picture” of God’s activity in our lives.
The image of light and sight dominate our readings this weekend. As is so often the case in John’s Gospel, Jesus’ interaction with an individual captures something somewhat basic, which points to a deeper reality to be apprehended. In the case of the man who was born without the faculty of physical sight, the miracle that Jesus performed, as he says, was for the benefit of those around him. As in the case of all miracles, they aren’t performed solely for the person who is healed, but they point to the deeper reality of what an encounter with Jesus Christ is all about.
Saint Paul captures this in the second reading when he says that we are light in the Lord. The light that is given to us at Baptism and grows in us through a life of nourishment through the sacraments is the light that illumines our own existence and that of the world around us. The light or sight that is around us is the grace that allows us to see our lives – including our mistakes – from the fuller context of God’s love. It allows our lives to make sense, not from our own perspective, but from God ‘s.
A life without Christ is limited because our only point of reference is ourselves. The discipleship that comes from faith gives us the ability, through the insight that comes from prayer, to understand every dimension of our lives by seeing as Christ sees in us. It might be a temptation to obsess over one thing or another – to get lost in the weeds of life. Christ’s presence in our lives provides the ultimate perspective of reconciliation, which allows us to see everyone – including ourselves – as all things really are!
O God, who through your Word reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come.