Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lord, restore our sight; grant us wisdom and a sense of proportion in life (Reflections on the Gospel of the 4th Sunday of Lent , John 9:1-41)

There are seven occasions in the gospels when Jesus heals on the Sabbath. These include the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, the man with the withered hand, the woman who had been sick for 18 years, the paralyzed man by the pool of Bethsaida, the man born blind, and the man possessed by a demon in the synagogue.

You would think that with a record like that, Jesus would be a man beloved by all. But it is the tragic fact that every miracle of healing Jesus did on the Sabbath only made the scribes and Pharisees more furious at him and more certain that he was dangerous and had to be stopped at all cost. If we are to understand their hatred of Jesus, it is important to remember that for them, he was a law-breaker. Healing was work, and to do work on the Sabbath was to break the law.

The most amazing thing about the scribes and Pharisees is their staggering lack of a sense of proportion. They went to endless trouble to formulate and to obey their petty rules and regulations; and yet they counted it a sin to ease a suffering man’s pain on the Sabbath.

If we had only one prayer to pray, we might well ask to be given a sense of proportion in life. The things which disturb our peace of mind are often trifles. The things which divide us and which destroy our friendships and relationships are often little things to which none of us in our saner moments, would probably give any importance.

And yet, the little things can bulk so large that they can fill our entire horizon. Only if we put first things first will all things take their proper place—and in all things, love comes first. It must always come first—no matter what. And so we pray:

Lord, restore my sight,
give me the wisdom to see all things in their proper light;

neither making big that which is really insignificant and small,

nor diminishing and disregarding the great things you send my way.

Teach me to find your trace in all things,
in every encounter, in every face,

and to love everyone I meet along my brief life’s way,
those who love me in return, and those who cause me pain.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)