The following homily was shared by Fr. George Smiga, the pastor of St. Noel Church, on March 30, 2014. It so beautifully describes the mission of the MORE Young Adult Group that we wanted to share it with you. The homily is a reflection on John 9:1-41.
A man who was blind from birth receives his sight in the first few verses of today’s gospel. But that is not the end of his story. The gospel goes on to recount his conversations with neighbors, the Pharisees, and Jesus himself. This is because today’s gospel is not about seeing. It is about seeing more.
You and I can see. We see trees, our computer screens, and the members of our families. But that does not mean that we see all that is necessary. This is why we are called to follow the example of the man born blind, living our lives with eyes open, seeing more and more until we finally see Jesus face to face.
But all too often, we take the stance that the Pharisees adopt at the end of today’s gospel. “We see,” we say, “and what we see today is enough.” Jesus warns us that whenever proudly we say “we see,” we are only revealing our own blindness. It is only by our willingness to see more that we will be able to arrive at the place where God wants us to be.
You and I confidently say that we see ourselves, that we know who we are, that we recognize our own abilities, relationships, and potential. But then we experience divorce, sickness, doubt, or depression, and we need to see more. We need to see how it is still possible to have a life that is positive and fulfilling, even when who we are has changed. We need to see how we can continue to have hope, even when our relationships are shattered, our health is threatened or we must deal with the difficulties of growing older.
You and I can say that we see what our Catholic faith entails. We go to church. We say our prayers. We help people who are in need. Then someone like Pope Francis says that our faith is more than just having a relationship with God and helping those in need. Our faith is about changing our society. Again, we need to see more. We need to see how being Catholic is not limited to doing things here in this church or in our homes, but is meant to perfect the society in which we live. We need to see that following Jesus means that we are willing to become involved into the messy areas of media, culture, and politics and work to change the structures in society that threaten life and keep millions of people impoverished and powerless.
We confidently say that we see who God is. We read of God’s love in the Scriptures. We study God’s power in our catechisms. And then tragedy strikes, and we have to face the reality of evil. We begin to doubt. How can a good and loving God allow the innocent to suffer and violence to reign? How could God allow this bad thing to happen to me? Once again we need to see more. We need to see that the image of God that we formed in grade school is too small, that our God is a God of mystery who we cannot completely comprehend. We need an adult faith that is more about trusting than explaining.
We can only grow if we are willing to see more. That is why we can never say that what we see today is complete. But it is good news that our God is willing to lead us in the journey to greater sight. Our God is willing to use our abilities and our experiences, as God used the abilities and experiences of the man born blind, to lead us to a deeper truth.
Our stance then must be one of humility and trust. We pray, “Lord, I can see, but help me to see more. I place my life in your hands.” Seeing begins with trust. That is why before we can open our eyes, we must be willing to open our hearts.