Pastor’s Weekly Message 3-19-23

Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
There is a saying, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” This is certainly true of the cast of characters in today’s Gospel. Jesus is able to heal the man born blind. It is a harder matter with those who  are willfully blind (the Pharisees), fearfully blind (the parents) or ignorantly blind (the neighbors). The man wishes to see. He follows Jesus’ instructions, is healed, and immediately becomes a center of attention and controversy. Doubted by his neighbors, abandoned by his parents, and grilled by the Pharisees, he remains calm and firm in his witness to Jesus as the One who healed him. He draws the obvious conclusion that Jesus’ power must come from God.  While obvious, this conclusion threatens the status quo of the power hungry Pharisees, and so they choose to remain blind to who Jesus is, and what He has to offer the world.
There is a very relevant lesson in the example of the parents. Unlike the Pharisees, they are not threatened by Jesus, or the reality of the miracle He performed on their son, but they are unwilling to challenge an authority figure, however unjust. This can easily happen in our modern world and our own lives. We know that God sides with the oppressed and the vulnerable, and  we try to do the same on an individual basis. But we are also called to speak up against the systems that promote or perpetuate racism, misogyny, homophobia, or any form of unjust oppression. It can be difficult to acknowledge when we ourselves may have benefitted from such systems, but that is an important first step to attacking and dismantling them.
Jesus says something very important when the disciples ask him what the man or his parents did wrong that God would punish him with blindness. Jesus corrects them – it was not a punishment but rather an opportunity for God to be made visible through His works. When faced with suffering or loss, we may ask where is the loving God who works always for our good? How can this be His will? Perhaps it can bring comfort to consider how God may be making Himself known in the world through our lived experience, however challenging.
I wish you and your loved ones Lenten blessings of good health, new hope, and true peace,

Fr. Paul

Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.

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