Fourth Sunday of Lent 2017


1 Samuel 16:1, 4, 6-7, 10-13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

“A Heart that Sees”


The Lord looks at the heart, while human beings look at appearances–at least those of us who have not yet moved from darkness to light in Christ. Those who remain in the dark not only fail to see themselves, but they also fail to see others because they never go beyond superficials, beyond appearances, which are so often fleeting and misleading. Those who do not allow themselves to “awake” from the darkness of death caused by sin do not have the light they need to look at hearts and reach out to embrace the wounds of suffering humanity. All they can do is judge and condemn other people and situations.

One thing is absolutely true: sin is darkness, blindness and death, and only Christ can get us out of that plight by enlightening us and enabling us to rise in him to the life of grace. Nevertheless, it might be worthwhile to try to identify the source of the suffering and illness that are so quickly condemned by those who, in their blindness, do not know how to look at hearts. Whose sin causes a person to be born blind?

In our blindness, we are all too often inclined to look at suffering as a punishment, a judgment, a penalty to be paid for who knows what sin we or others consciously committed and that we now unconsciously bear the burden of. Today Jesus the Teacher turns upside down this way of looking at things, revealing that illness is not the fruit of sin but an occasion for God to demonstrate his salvific power. It is not a misfortune but a grace for us and for others!

How blind we are! How determined we are not to see and, if we do see, how reluctant we are to accept what we see. When suffering knocks on our door, all too often we immediately cry out: “What wrong did I do?”

We need the faith of the man born blind, who gropes his way to the Pool of Siloam and washes himself there as Jesus told him to do. He heads toward the Pool with the trust of someone who knows that the Lord is recreating him, just as his divine hand took mud and shaped the first human being, holy and immaculate in love. We need the humility to acknowledge that we are blind and that our need to be saved from sin is much greater than our need to be cured of our physical ailments. We need to humbly realize that maladies are opportunities for God to manifest his glory in us, so that we might be the first to witness to how merciful he has been toward us.


Lord, enlighten our hearts
so that, contemplating your face,
we can see our own lives
and the lives of others
in a light that extends
above and beyond
every situation of darkness!


Fr. Massimo TellanParroco di San Giovanni Crisostomo, Roma