Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wrenched Out of Our Blindness

"Healing of the Man Born Blind" two-color linocut by Robert Hodgell (1922-2000)

In the Roman rite, this weekend we celebrate the Sunday of the Man Born Blind (aka the Fourth Sunday in Lent, aka Laetare Sunday.)  In the long gospel reading from St. John, Jesus encounters a blind begger, and after declaring "I AM  the Light of the World, spits in the dirt to make a muddy slurry and rubs the mud on the man's eyes.  The beggar regains his sight and it is then that his troubles really begin as the opponents of Jesus demand that he account for himself and his miraculous healing.

Yet for each of us, who, like the beggar healed by Jesus, who have been wrenched out of our blindness, we assume a burden of responsibility for which we must make an accounting.  Although it is certainly possible to close our eyes to the lies, injustice and suffering all around us, there is a price to be paid, in this life and in the next, for blinding ourselves to it.
Blessed Monsenor Oscar Romero

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Blessed Monsenor Oscar Romero, who, in 1977, after the brutal assasination of his friend and brother priest, Fr. Rutilio Grande SJ, began to see the lives of his impoverished and oppressed people with new eyes.  For the next three years he refused to close his eyes to the relentless violence and oppression experienced by the poor in El Salvador at the hands of the military and the security forces.

As the violence intensified he denounced the thousands of killings and disappearances and those who perpetrated them, while trying to find a way to bring peace to a country on the verge of civil war.  In the end, this courageous witness who refused to look away and keep silent was martyred while celebrating Mass on March 24th, 1980.      

Through the intercession of Blessed Oscar Romero, Bishop and Martyr, may Christ heal our blindness to the burdens, sorrows and injustices borne by our brothers and sisters.  May we have the grace and courage to see with the eyes of truth and compassion.  


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