Associate Professor Josh Evans shares Lent Reflection

Blindness and sight, darkness and light are the themes from Sunday’s readings. “Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil.” 

The Bible is not ambivalent about good and evil. The letter to the community in Ephesus is straightforward: “Brothers and sisters: You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord....Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness.” St. Paul himself had been “darkness” when he persecuted the earliest followers of Jesus. Jesus was not happy with him: “Why are you persecuting me?” As we hear in the Gospel, Jesus “came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind."  When Jesus confronts Paul on the road to Damascus, he does not send Paul on his way with five Hail Marys as penance. Jesus is intense. As Jesus tells his disciples in Sunday’s Gospel, “We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."  On the road he tells Paul, “get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.” Ultimately Paul was executed by the government in Rome because of the trouble he caused proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah.

The Bible seems equally concerned about physical, moral, and spiritual blindness. St. Paul learned this lesson quickly.  Historian Peter Brown writes about the Apostle, “In Paul, we meet a man whose whole body ached for the great change that might soon come upon it. He lived his life poised between revelation and resurrection.” The future with God promises only light, as we hear in the letter to the Romans: We live “in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.” All manner of evil—physical, moral, and spiritual—will be overcome.

Until then, however, we are reminded that “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart." As we experience too often in health care, our hearts are not always as healthy as we think they are.  We might have a bit too much moral and spiritual cholesterol, whether or not we want to admit it.  We are too often like the Pharisees, certain that we see clearly but forgetting that faith is necessary to see the world rightly. We lives that say, like the Pharisees, “This man is not from God.” The Gospel asks us to be like the blind man, who says, “"I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him.”