God’s Restorative Forgiveness
Our God is a living God, who sees and knows everything. The Lord is also a loving God, who looks into the depths of our souls: “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the Lord looks into the heart.” God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves! Because we are made in God’s image and likeness, God has given us the capacity to see both physically, with our eyes, and spiritually with our souls. The Gospel tells us the story of Jesus healing the young blind man. Despite the young man’s physical blindness, he had spiritual sight. He had faith and believed that the One who healed him was God. The Pharisees, on the other hand, who had physical sight, were spiritually blind. They lacked faith and the ability to see that Jesus really was God. Despite all of the miracles that Jesus performed, despite all of the things He said, the Pharisees’ hearts were hardened.
Sin makes us spiritually blind so that we cannot see God present in our lives. Sin hardens our hearts and damages our relationship with God. And mortal sin—serious sin—actually puts our souls in a state of spiritual death. This season of Lent is given to us by the Church as a time to discover our sin—to discover that we, like the Pharisees, are spiritually blind. It is a time for us to be still and silent—to go into the depths of our hearts—and to tell God what dark and unsightly things we find there.
Perhaps some of you carry in your hearts a particular hatred or resentment toward someone who has wounded you. Perhaps you have committed certain sins that you are afraid to confess. Whatever is in your hearts, do not be afraid to discover and uncover the truth. Why? Because Our God is a loving God, and He already knows what is inside of our hearts. He already knows what we so often try to hide from Him and even from ourselves. He already knows our sins better than we do.
What God also knows, is how much we long to be loved. He knows how much we need the healing that only His forgiveness provides.
What is so sad and tragic about the Pharisees is not that they were spiritually blind, but that they closed themselves off to receiving God’s mercy and love. As today’s Gospel shows us: blindness, whether physical or spiritual, is not a problem for God. For, He can heal any kind of blindness. What is difficult for God, however, is our own refusal to be healed—our own rejection of His Love and Mercy. God has given us the most beautiful gift of free will, and with our free will we can either accept God’s mercy or reject it.
If God allows us to discover something of our sinfulness, blindness, or hardness of heart, it is not to condemn us, but to invite us to return to Him and to receive His mercy. And this is what Lent is all about. Jesus is pure love. It is His desire to reveal to us our own darkness, so that we might seek Him. And in seeking Him, we might be brought into the unfathomable light of His love and eternal beatitude.
It is, therefore, with this in mind that I would like to invite you to take some time during what remains of Lent to look into your hearts, examine your consciences, and take advantage of God’s Love in the Sacrament of Confession. God is waiting to forgive and heal you—to open your eyes to the glory of His Love.
Yours in Christ,
Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent: Lectionary 31Tags: #arthurmarat, #blindman, #fatherarthur, #fatherarthurmarat, #forgiveness, #lent, #olw, #olwparish
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