March 22 homily summary
Mar 24, 2020
“It is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”
When encountering the man born blind, Jesus's disciple ask Him the cause of the man's blindness. Jesus's response seems like a non-answer: “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” The disciples essentially ask a question about suffering. Perhaps Jesus doesn't answer the question directly, but He nevertheless confronts the issue. It is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We may be tempted to think that the work of God which Jesus is referring to is giving sight to the man born blind. Without a doubt, that is the work of God revealed, but the greater work of God revealed in the man born blind is that he is given spiritual sight and vision, leading him to profess faith in and worship Jesus as the Son of Man, calling Jesus as Lord. Bringing about faith and converted the man born blind was the work of God revealed in him.
“Not as man sees does God see,” so God tells Samuel in our first reading about the anointing of David. This principle is important to keep in mind when pondering the works of God. St. Thomas Aquinas states that the greatest of the works of God is not the creating and fashioning of the universe, not giving sight to the blind, not healing the sick, not driving out demons, not raising Lazarus from the dead. No, the greatest of the works of God is the conversion of sinners; bringing people to faith. We see this greatest of the works of God at play in the Gospel of John as Jesus gives sight—physical and spiritual—to the man born blind, bringing him to faith.
In this difficult and uncertain time, the words of Jesus remain true: “It is so that the works of God might be made visible through him/us.” What are the works of God right now? Busy and hectic families are now forced to spend more time with each, hopefully deepening their relationships with each other. Through this crisis, God is executing judgment on the idols and false gods of our day: sports; finances, in which we often place our security; a life of comfort, which sometimes makes us apathetic to our mission as disciples of Christ. Through this crisis, God is helping us to reprioritize our lives. In this time, Jesus is giving us sight, ending our blindness to the need of others and our blindness to God's invitation in our lives. Lastly, what is the work of God revealed in us now? Our Lord is bringing us to greater faith and converting us more toward Him: trusting in Him more deeply, surrendering to Him more completely, and committing our lives more totally to Him.