Still another transfiguration this week,
the third of four in this Lenten season.
Two weeks ago the disciples gained insight
into Jesus’ closeness to God
through the law and the prophets.
Last week Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well
both gained insight through their theological discussion.
This week the man-born-blind gains both eyesight and insight.
The Greek word for this man is “anthropos,”
the generic word for a human being
without telling gender, ethnicity, or historical context.
The man-born-blind—the one-who-saw—is everyone.
So when we hear this Gospel,
we are challenged to figure out the part we have been playing
the part we want to play.
We may be bound by our unshakeable convictions.
We may be the ones who wonder what God is up to.
We may choose to let authorities give us the answers.
No matter what our role has been,
we are invited to be anthropos,
people who realize we have been blind
BUT who are now ready to see.
Last month Pope Francis said
that Christians don’t live outside the world;
we live in the world.
Francis said that Christians have to know
how to recognize the signs of evil, selfishness, and sin
in their own life
and in what surrounds them.
Part of the transformation for the man-born-blind
is recognizing the politics of the Pharisees
who blind themselves to the truth
so they can keep their power and wealth and control
over the people.
We don’t have to look far to see
how this story speaks to the signs of our times.
The big picture for us is that America is being transformed.
Programs that support the principles of Catholic Social Teaching
are threatened by that budget sent to Congress this month.
It ignores the rights and dignity of the human person.
It is blind to the preferential option for the poor.
It is blind to the command to feed the hungry, clothe the naked,
shelter the homeless, and welcome the stranger.
It is deaf to the call for peace and justice.
It would cut 62 agencies and programs
to fund expansion of our military,
already 1,000 times more lethal
than all the other militaries in the world together.
Here in Toledo we would see drastic cuts
to programs to shelter the homeless, like Family House;
Meals on Wheels for seniors and people with disabilities;
low-income home energy assistance;
UStogether and its support for refugee families;
school breakfasts and lunches;
PBS and NPR.
And there’s more than the budget
to threaten our Christian values.
Already we see Muslims vilified
and immigrants and refugees turned away.
Environmental protections are being wiped out,
allowing unrestrained dumping of pollutants.
The proposed health insurance proposal
would make health care unaffordable or unavailable
to millions of people.
Truth and civility and respect have been replaced
with unfounded accusations, insults, and crude language.
In short, our country is abandoning its commitment
to the common good.
One good thing is
that it’s not only our country that’s being transformed.
We—each of us individually, and all of us together—are changing.
How blind we have been!
We were stumbling along in the dark.
Like the man-born-blind,
we didn’t see the damage that could be done.
We thought it couldn’t happen here.
Now, thanks to Donald Trump, our eyes are opened.
We are being transformed.
The transfiguration is everywhere we look.
Across the country
ordinary citizens are showing up at their senators’ offices.
We’re asking for town hall meetings.
We’re making phone calls and sending emails
about the issues we care about.
We’re writing postcards to Congress and letters to the editor.
We are following the political news
on TV and radio and in the paper.
We’re talking about it, and we’re taking action.
This is the “faithful citizenship” that the U.S. Bishops called us to
10 years ago when they said
that responsible citizenship is a virtue;
when they said participation in political life
is a moral obligation
rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus;
when they said that all of us
must actively participate in promoting the common good.
So we continue to work for the change
that will transform each and every one of us
to be able to read the signs of our times
and put our faith into action.
We’re halfway through Lent, symbolized in the pink around us.
Light is dawning.
With the man-born-blind,
with all who follow Jesus,
we are called to live as children of the light.
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m./Sundays at 5:30 p.m.
at 3925 West Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43606
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle, Pastor
Mailing address: 3156 Doyle Street, Toledo, OH 43608-2006