Fourth Sunday of Lent – Homily

My dear friends,

As Catholics, we are suddenly faced with our Parish doors being locked and limited access to the Sacraments. This can be very disheartening. Now more than ever, we must hold fast to the great virtue of Hope. Now, more than ever, in humility, we knock at the door of heaven in prayer.

In the Gospel this Sunday, we encounter people who are blind. They are two kinds: one who is physically blind and people who are spiritually blind; one who wants very much to see and people who refuse to see. Of the latter (the pharisees), Christ said, “They have eyes but do not see.”

These self-righteous religious leaders could not see because of pride. Which thinks it knows all the answers. They heaped insults on the blind man: “You were born and brought up in sin – and you are trying to lecture on us.”

My friends, are we not, in some ways, like the spiritually blind pharisees?

Pride is a form of worship that needs no God. The proud person cannot really have mature relationships because his feelings are inevitably hurt. The proud are easily affected by everything, from a seating arrangement to the tone of a greeting. This is a kind of rotten pride, childish pride.

The Gospel lesson, as exemplified by the humble, blind man is: we need self-acceptance, self-knowledge. We must know our strengths and weaknesses, and be open enough to improve on the former and eradicate the latter.

The story is told about a woman who approached a priest for confession. “Bless me, Father for I have sinned. This morning, before coming to Church, I committed the sin of PRIDE. I sat for an hour in front of my mirror admiring my beauty.”

The priest looked at her and replied, “My dear lady, that was not pride. That was pure imagination.”

My friends, in order to grow spiritually, humility – not imagination – is needed. Humility to accept you need help, humility to cooperate with God’s grace. Did you notice how the blind man took the trouble of washing in the pool as ordered by Jesus?

Having the humility to face our imperfection or sickness is the essential condition for our cure. This is the virtue of the blind man. On the other hand, the proud, the self-righteous (pharisees) who believe they are always right, have no hope.

In humility, we kneel and bow our heads and pray:

Lord, have mercy on us, sinners.

Lord, have mercy on us, sinners.

Lord, have mercy on us, sinners.

May God bless you all.

Fr Oscar Paraiso

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