Light as a theme in the middle of Lent. Interesting. And deeply personal. A reminder that seeing and vision are far from the same, and knowing who and how to trust are simply part of learning what it really means to see. Embracing reality is a huge part of seeing the light, and realizing that what is seen is not always what it seems. How do we do it? How can we live attentive to the Light?
In so many ways, life is immersed in Light and replete with gifts of light like friends. Friendships, in the deepest and truest sense of the relationship, requires openness and trust, a deeply held confidence in other and a deeply held consciousness of self. Learning to trust can be a lifetime’s task for some; it can be a jagged edge for those who have been hurt and lstill recover. Trust is more than a one-way gift: it is a dynamic give and take between two persons around something held important and in common to both of them. It is a confidence in one another that may either defy the circumstance or situation or define it. It is a choice and can be Light.
The readings for today are poised around themes of seeing, light and trusting. Samuel has the vision to realistically notice each of Jesse’s sons: he calls for anoints David. Seeing is shown to be so meaningful, so purposeful. The responsorial psalm is Psalm 23: the Lord is my shepherd. The tender compassion of the Shepherd and the faithful responses of the sheep coming alive to create that bond, the willingness to go on. And then, the Gospel filled with characters who really are characters in the best sense of the word. Some are ensconced in a reality with such raw and blatant inclusivity and exclusivity, clear ownership of the space. It is not so for the blind man or for Jesus who simply are who they are in the moment. The exchange is simple, really. Disability had been determined as a punishment from God, an explanation for what was so difficult to cope with. Jesus disavows that with saliva and dirt, concocting a muddy ointment and then directing the blind man to wash. In simplicity, the blind man realizes his gratitude to Jesus and learns who Jesus really is. He sees in every sense of the word. It is the Pharisees whose fixed understanding deprives them of that chance.
So how do we see? How do we recognize the Light of the World? How do we walk in the Light? Perhaps the task is more simple than we realize. Maybe we do not need to be judgmental, to hurt one another by discriminating or by failing to really listen for the grains of truth that are the fiber of human experience. Maybe we can take the time to really look at one another and not simply pass by the people in our lives. Maybe that one meaningful glance can be the light, make a connection, share an understanding, be the seed of trust to come. Let go of the prisons of the past, forgive yourself for the blindness and the mistakes. Trust that someone is looking out for you, and that is moving towards the Light.