In Jesus’ times, when someone had an illness or a condition it was thought by others in society that it was a punishment for some sin they committed in the past. So, in today’s Gospel Jesus is quick to point out that neither the Blind man or his parents have sinned. The man in fact was born blind so that the ‘works of God may be displayed in him’.
Jesus performs the miracle. He covers the man’s eyes in a mixture of spittle and clay and then tells him to go and wash in the pool at Siloam. When the man does this his sight is restored immediately. Those who had seen him earlier in the day recognised him as the Blind Beggar and they questioned what had happened. He told them what Jesus had done and that his sight was restored. Some of the Pharisees questioned that Jesus ‘could not be from God’ as he had broken the sabbath. When they ask the Man ‘what have you say about him’, he declares that ‘Jesus is a Prophet’.
We can all experience a type of blindness in our lives. We can be blind to what’s going on around us and often we choose not to see because we may be challenged to change our ways or attitude. Sometimes those who are close to us can try to point out our ‘blind spot’ but we dismiss it because we don’t want to hear it from them and try to change our ways.
As we journey through these weeks of Lent we pray that we might be open to seeing and listening to what God is saying to each of us in our daily lives.
Today Jesus arrives into the Samaritan town of Sychar. It’s late in the day and tired by his journey he takes a rest at Jacob’s well while the disciples head into a nearby town to buy food to eat. When the Samaritan woman comes to the well to draw some water Jesus is very forthright and asks her for a drink. Because Jews and Samaritans don’t associate with each other the woman is very surprised by Jesus’ request and she questions why he, a Jew, would ask for and accept a drink from a Samaritan.
Initially they get into a general conversation about water and eventually Jesus tries to indicate to the woman that God is offering her something that will take away her ‘thirst’ forever. He was of course speaking of that inner thirst we all have for God in our lives. For example, although the woman had five husbands she had a spiritual void in her life that only a closer relationship with God could take it away from her. The woman responds by asking Jesus to give her some of that water so that she will never have to come here again to drink.
The Samaritan woman became an evangelist. She shared her experience with others and they in turn began to believe in him through their own personal encounters with Jesus and responded in faith.
Jesus knew everything about the woman’s life. He knows everything about our lives too and continually invites us to come to the water and drink, so that our inner thirst may be satisfied through a deepening of our relationship with him during this Lenten season.
In today’s gospel, we hear how Jesus takes Peter, James and his brother John up a high mountain so they could be alone and perhaps have time to pray after a busy day. As soon as they reach the summit he is ‘transfigured’ before them with his face shining like the sun and his clothes as white as the light. Moses and Elijah appear and are seen talking to Jesus. Later, a voice from the cloud declares ‘This is my son, the beloved; he enjoys my favour, listen to him.’ The disciples are frightened by what they see and hear but Jesus seeks to reassure them and tells them to stand up and not be afraid.
When they came down the mountain Jesus told them to tell no one about their experience until the ‘Son of Man has risen from the dead’. They could not understand at that time that Jesus was foretelling what was to happen to him in time to come.
Their experience on the mountain was perhaps meant to strengthen and encourage them to remain faithful. We all experience different crisis in life. Our lives can often be transformed by these experiences and changed forever. Maybe that’s what Jesus had in mind when he brought the disciples up the mountain. That they might be changed and prepared for what was ahead in his passion and death.
We pray that this Holy season of Lent may transform our hearts and lives in preparation for the forthcoming Easter day and beyond.
This year’s Novena of Grace in honour of St. Francis Xavier takes place from Saturday 4th March to Sunday 12th March in Holy Trinity Church. The theme this year is Partnership.
Saturday: 6.30pm Sunday: 11.30am Monday to Friday: 7.30pm
O most kind and loving saint, in union with you I adore the Divine Majesty. The remembrance of the favours with which God blessed you during life, and of your glory after death, fills me with joy; and I unite with you in offering to God my humble tribute of thanksgiving and of praise. I implore of you to secure for me, through your powerful intercession, the all important blessing of living and dying in the state of grace. I also beseech you to obtain the favour I ask in this Novena (here mention the favour to be asked for): but if what I ask is not for the glory of God or for the good of my soul, obtain for me what is most conducive to both. Amen.
O God, who was pleased to gather unto your Church the peoples of the East by the preaching and miracles of blessed Francis, mercifully grant that we who honour his glorious merits, may also imitate the example of his virtues, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.