Archive for the ‘4th Sunday’ Category

The Blind Man 3-19-2023

Friday, March 17th, 2023

The response of the Pharisees to this miracle of healing is a classic
example of the old adage, “There is none so blind as he or she who will
not see.” We do not fault these men for their investigation of the facts.
Faith should never be equated with naviete. The fault lies in their failure
to face the facts and deal with them openly and honestly. They refused
to see anything that contradicted their own little concept of the truth. We
should keep in mind that these men were not atheists. Every one of
them believed in God. Neither were they morally degenerate. In many
ways, they were people much like ourselves; yet, these were the men
who were spiritually blind. What exactly does that mean?
I. The first thing I see is their indifference to human
suffering. They obviously had little or no compassion for the
man who was born blind. Had they been genuinely
concerned for his problem, they would have rejoiced in his
healing, regardless of how it came about. But such was not
their response. I get the impression that they would have
preferred the man remain blind than have his receiving of
sight contradict their theological theories.
What that says to you and me is that we can be
religiously devout and spiritually blind at the same time. If I
understand at all the message of the New Testament, it is that
God is more concerned about people than his religious rules.
Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for
Sabbath.” Religious rules are relevant only as they serve to
protect and enrich the lives of people.
So, Jesus would not be intimidated by the orthodoxy of
the Pharisees. In his system of values, keeping the law was
not nearly important as helping the people for whom the law
was given. If you and I can learn that lesson and live by it,
we will have opened our eyes to a major truth about God and
life. The Pharisees never saw that. With them, people were
expendable; the protection and propagation of the system
were all-important. They lived in a world of spiritual
darkness and did not even know it.
II. A second element of their blindness was their inability to
see themselves. Notice their contempt for the man born
blind. They said to him, “You were steeped in sin from your
birth. Who are you to be teaching us?” They were, of
course, right about the man. He was a sinner. The interesting
thing is how they failed to see the same truth applied to them.
They were moralistic people, and they had a sharp eye for
sin, but there was something artificial about it. Whenever
they spoke of sinners, it was always in the second person or
third person, never the first person: “you sinner,” or “those
sinners,” never “we sinners.”
Exactly how they exempted themselves from the
fellowship of the fallen is not quite clear. But one thing is

Blessed Are You 1-29-2023

Sunday, January 22nd, 2023

Picture This. Jesus pulls up a metal folding chair in the parish hall
or takes a seat on the couch in the living room and begins to teach:
“If you’re struggling to pay the bills, but insist on making time to
be with your children whenever they need you, blessed are you – you
may never own the big vacation home and the Lexus, but heaven will be
“If you are overwhelmed by the care of a dying spouse, a sick child
or an elderly parent but you are determined to make a loving home for
them, blessed are you – one day your sorrow will be transformed into
“If you willingly give your time to cook at a soup kitchen, vacuum
the church, help in a classroom; if you befriend the uncool, the
unpopular, the perpetually lost, blessed are you – count God among your
friends and biggest boosters.
“If you refuse to take shortcuts when it comes to doing what is
right, if you refuse to compromise your integrity and ethics, if you refuse
to take refuge in the rationalization that ‘everybody does it,’ blessed are
you – you will triumph.
“If you try to understand things from the perspective of the other
person and always manage to find a way to make things work for the
good; if you’re feeling discouraged and frustrated because you are
always worrying, always waiting, always bending over backwards,
always paying the price for loving the unlovable and forgiving the
undeserving, blessed are you – God will welcome, forgive and love you.
“If you struggle to discover what God asks of you in all things; if
you seek God’s presence in every facet of your life and every decision
you make; if your constant prayer is not ‘give me’ but ‘help me,’ blessed
are you – God will always be there for you.
“If you readily spend time listening and consoling anyone who
looks to you for support, for guidance, for compassion; if you manage to
heal wounds and build bridges; if others see in you graciousness, joy and

serenity; if you can see the good in everyone and seek the good for
everyone, blessed are you – you are nothing less than God’s own.
“If you are rejected or demeaned because of the color of your skin
or the sound of your name; if your faith automatically puts you at odds
with some people; if you refuse to compromise to ‘get along’ or ‘not
make waves,’ blessed are you – one day you will live with God.
“Rejoice and be glad,” Jesus tells those who have gathered, “you
are the blessed of God. In the end, heaven is yours.” Remember this.

A Thought Before Christmas 12-18-2022

Thursday, December 15th, 2022

There is a story that comes out of India which tells of a beggar
whose great hope was that he would meet the king. Then, he dreamed,
alms would be given him unasked and wealth scattered all around him in
the dust. One day, the king’s golden chariot came into the village and
actually stopped where the beggar stood. The king saw the poor man,
got out of the chariot, and walked with a smile toward him.
The beggar was ecstatic. He felt that good fortune had come his
way at last. But instead of giving him anything, the king held out his
hand and said, “What do you have to give to me?” The beggar was
confused and undecided. Then slowly, he took from his loaded
knapsack a single grain of wheat and gave it to the king. The king made
no move to give him anything in return. Disillusioned and dejected, the
beggar walked to his bare room. At day’s end, he emptied his bag on the
floor and was surprised to find a single grain of gold among all the other
grains of wheat. He wept bitterly and thought: “If only I had the heart to
give the king my all.
The beggar found only a single grain of gold in his bag because he
had given away only a single grain of wheat. If he had given more, he
would have received more.
A few weeks before Christmas – in the midst of money being tight,
and the normal Christmas rush and pressure – we have many things to
give – Let us not be afraid to give them. How about these:
1. Remember an old friend
2. Call or write to someone who has lost someone through death
3. Give peace
4. Forgive an enemy
5. Set differences aside in our families
6. Give of yourself – a small bit of quality time
7. Perform an act of kindness
8. Offer a few sincere thoughtful words of encouragement and
9. Give love
and guess what, Christmas will be forever! Wouldn’t that be great!