Sisters and brothers in the Lord,
While I was growing up as a little boy, if I heard it once I heard it perhaps thousands of times from my mom, she would say to me ‘young man, open your eyes and watch where you are going’. Now of course when I was with my father and he wanted to express the same sentiments, the way he described it, I could not repeat in church. But the idea was the same.
Now of course I could see. But I was a daydreamer. I would oftentimes get lost in my own thoughts, in my own little world. So it was not uncommon I would walk into fire hydrants. And many a pair of pants had a hole in the knee because I tripped over things because I was – kind of – I had not yet learned to see what matters. That’s a lifetime project for all of us.
And it seems to me, for you and I today, it may help us to understand what it is that the Lord is asking of us in our own individual journeys of discipleship. Because today in that very beautiful story of the healing of the blind man, we have an extraordinary contrast. For on one hand, we have a man born blind that Jesus physically heals. And recall, my dear friends, the miracles of Jesus were signs of the inbreaking of the Kingdom. He was teaching His own, and those who followed after Him, what it is that the Kingdom of Heaven would be like when there would be no blindness. When we would live in perfect love and sight before Christ. We would be able to see the very face of God.
And as he healed this man who was ostensibly blind, this man could see what really matters. His heart longed to see the Messiah. It was ready to be able to recognize Him and embrace Him and that’s why the Lord said “(what are) what are you seeing?” And he said “I believe Lord”.
That’s in very stark contrast to the Pharisees who could see very well, and were as blind as bats, blind to the mercy of God that was allowing this man to see even on the Sabbath. Blind by their own self-righteousness that they were quick to accuse the man of sinfulness, when they refused to see their own sinfulness. Men who were educated and religiously observant and were blind to the needs of those around them.
Because they did not learn to see what really matters. Or perhaps a better way to describe that, my friends, is to see as God sees.
Today on this fourth Sunday of Lent we are called to meditate and reflect deeply and profoundly on the task of every disciple, to see as God sees. In the first reading we are reminded of appearances and superficiality. And the truth is we live in a world that is very much, very much enamored, committed to the appearances of life, to the superficiality of life. And unfortunately the relations between people are governed by that. You and I have been asked by the gift of the Holy Spirit to look deeper, to look into the heart, to see as God sees.
And my dear brother Knights and sister Columbiettes and your families, for that reason I am very grateful that you are here today. For it allows us, and me, to offer in perhaps a meager way a profound heartfelt word of thanks, for seeing as God sees. For the Knights of Columbus are known for many things. You and I know that. But central to much of who you are and what we do, is to enter into the world and see and act as God asks us to.
So consider all the work that you have devoted yourself to, to the work to allow the hungry to eat, and those without shelter to have a place of refuge, those who are poor to have a message of hope, those who are struggling in whatever way to be able to know they do not struggle alone. For you see those in need around you as God sees them, as sisters and brothers who have names and families, and who are to be loved as brothers and sisters.
Today in a very special way I am deeply grateful on behalf of all of the children in our Catholic schools. They are among God’s precious children. And in countless ways, too many for me to list now, you have been at their service, you have been at their support, and you have been role models for them for many, many years, by the labor of your hands, by the generosity of your spirit. And in many ways, by the example of your faith and charity, you are helping to mold our children who are entrusted to our care to be able, not to see as the world sees, not to see as the Pharisees saw, but to see as Christ sees: through you.
And I know your material generosity is deeply appreciated. But your spiritual generosity is appreciated more. For I cannot imagine how difficult it is for a young person to grow up in a world that is so blind, a world that is so committed to see in a way other than what God asks of us. And thank God, and I am grateful, that you are showing them a better way.
So my mother was wise in many ways, I must confess. And the older I become the more I realize it. So perhaps her words to me as a young boy are the words you and I can meditate on in this week as we continue this journey of Lent. Let us continue to pray, that you and I may keep our eyes opened. That is to continue to do as best we can in our private lives, in our lives as brother knights, in our discipleship of Jesus Christ, to see what really matters. To keep our eyes open to see as God sees. And to watch where we’re going. Because my friends, we are all going, please God, to eternal life.