Lightning Strikes 3-22-2020

Years ago, a boy was collecting berries in the woods near his
Southern home. He was concentrating on filling his bucket – and mouth
–with the delicious fruit and not paying attention to how deep he was
going into the forest. The boy didn’t notice the dark clouds forming on
the horizon. Then he heard crashes of thunder. Suddenly he realized that
he was lost. Darkness enveloped the woods. The terrified youngster
started to run with no sense of where he was going.
Then he remembered what his parents had taught him: When you’re
lost, stop and be still, look around, and listen. So the boy stopped running
and stood still. And he observed the lightning strikes illuminating the
forest landscape. With each lightning flash he was able to see a bit farther
ahead and walk a little closer to his destination until he found his way
home, guided by the storm that had, at first, frightened him.
“Seeing” and “light” are key images of today’s Gospel for this
Sunday in mid-Lent. Jesus cures a man born blind – but the greater
miracle is opening the eyes of those around him to “see” the presence of
God in their midst. Terrified of the storm, the little boy remembers his parents’ wise advice: Stop and look. See the light and make your way
towards it. The Christ of Lent is that light that illuminates those times
and places in which we can realize the love of God in our midst. Like the
Jewish leaders and the temple officials, we sometimes become so
obsessed trying to find God where God is not that we fail to see God
where God actually is. We desperately want to know where God is when
tragedy befalls us; we live our lives taking comfort in the erroneous
notion that God is found only at certain times, in the rituals and pious
practices our religion specifies. The reality is that God is most
profoundly present in the simple, ordinary doings of life, in the kindness
and love of others, in life itself and the gifts of the earth to sustain that
life. May God grant us the vision that the blind man receives in today’s
Gospel: to see the love of God present in all things.


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