“For the Lord, does not see as man sees for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.!” (1 Sam. 16:7b).
One of the worst human impairments is the failure to see or more bluntly put blindness. We all like to see or desires to see things around us and even beyond us; we are in fact committed “seers.” We could recall that one of our brothers in faith, Thomas the apostle, insisted that unless he sees the pierced hands and side of the risen Lord, he would not believe the Easter story of resurrection (John 20:25). Hence the enduring statement “seeing is believing.” However, with God, the reverse is the case “believing is seeing.”
This fourth Sunday of Lent also called laetare (rejoice) Sunday introduces us to a distinction between human sight and divine insight. Put in another way; we are set to know that beyond the physical sight there is a divine insight which is the enduring vision of reality.
In the First Reading (1 Sam 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a), God sent Samuel to anoint another king in place of Saul. Why? Saul was made a king to lead the people of Israel when they asked for a king to lead them like other tribes. (1 Sam.10:17-25). God rejected Saul when he disobeyed God on a very important instruction of destroying the Amalekites and sparing nothing; human or animal (1 Sam 15:1ff). The quick lesson here is that nobody is indispensable before God. Disobedience could cost us divine appointments.
Samuel went to the house of Jesse as God directed him, but he walked into the household with a human sight. Somewhere I read that we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor.5:7). The consequence of walking by human sight was that Samuel mistook Eliab, the tall and handsome son of Jesse, as the one God has appointed to replace Saul. All the other sons of Jesse could not pass for the new king. But God’s divine insight was beyond the sight of Samuel and his host Jesse, who seemed to have forgotten that he has another son who was at his duty post away from home.
God’s ways are strictly different from our ways, and his thoughts are above human thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9); we can also add that is sight is different from our sight. While Samuel was looking at the physical features, God was looking at the spiritual deposits. While Samuel was walking by sight, God was walking by insight.
The visiting man of God waited until David returned from his duty post and anointed him in the presence of his father and his brothers. There is a divine assurance in your life today that God’s favors will seek after you and wait for you. It does not matter how long it takes and wherever you are. Your blessings will still come to you.
In the Gospel Reading today (John 9:1-41) our Lord Jesus Christ healed a man that was born blind. First, there was an argument over the man’s situation; whether it was because of his sins or those of his parents. Our Lord’s answer to the puzzle may have shocked everyone. Simply put, the man’s blindness was to give glory to God (that the works of God might be visible through him).
The description of the man’s situation tells us that some of our challenges and problems exist to glorify God. Yes! It means that the situation will end to the glory and praise of God and the events that followed the healing showed this very well.
We did not hear the unnamed beggar asked out Lord for help like the blind Bartimaeus did (Mark 10:46-52). Approaching him, our Lord mixed his saliva with sand and formed clay that he smeared on the blind man’s eyes and asked him to go and wash at the pool of Siloam. He did, and he regained his sight.
We have amazing details in the healing of the man. The mixture of sand and saliva appear strange to us. And going to wash at the pool like Elisha told Naaman, the Syrian army commander (2 Kings 5:10ff) adds more drama to the on-going theatrics. Furthermore, the narrative tells us about the reaction of the people especially the Pharisees who questioned the healing because it happened on a Sabbath. They even went to the extent of inviting the parents of the man to ascertain if he was truly blind from the cradle.
The entire narrative still points to our theme “human sight and the power of divine insight.” With their human sight, the Pharisees could not see the hand work of God in restoring physical sight to a man born blind. With their human sight, they were more concerned with physical verifications and facts. Despite their natural sight, they were still myopic; nay blind.
The man was born without sight but not without insight; in other words faith. First, he trusted and obeyed our Lord to go to the pool of Siloam to bathe. Some other person would have questioned the instruction. Second, he stood his ground to defend both his healing and the healer. When he was asked about his opinion about the man who healed him (whom he never saw physically at that moment) he said that he is a prophet. He went from being a blind street beggar to a being a faithful and sight-full evangelist and a defender of the good news.
From the ending dialogue our Lord had with the Pharisees, understand that as the blind beggar was receiving his sight the Pharisees, who considered themselves as having sight, became blind. The very words of our Lord Jesus Christ say: “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”
Beyond our physical sight, there is a need for us to have divine insight. Divine insight helps us to see things from God’s point of view. Divine insight helps us to appreciate God instead of asking for physical and biological verifications. Divine insight helps us to see beyond physical features and to discover divine deposits even in the small “Davids” around us. Divine insight helps us not to judge by outward appearance but to connect with the inner divine eye.
The best way for us to walk by divine insight is to allow God to be our shepherd as the responsorial psalm says. When the Lord is our Shepherd, He will lead us in the right paths with His divine insight. As St. Paul mentioned in the Second Reading (Eph.5:8-14) we shall be exposed to the light of Christ, and everything will become visible.
As we launch into this fourth week of Lent, may the abiding presence of God lead us from our perverted human sight into a more brilliant divine insight. May no physical attraction or attributes lead us away from seeing the real things with the spiritual insight that comes from God. Have a great week ahead.