Before we get into the readings from this weekend, First, thank you! I wanted to give you a quick update on the sale of the current rectory. It did indeed sell and we have closed on the property netting $72,227! With the $50,000 from the Knights of Columbus, donations of $46,675 ... these total $168,902. We will use the $80,000 from our diocese savings account to cover the remaining balance ($48,000 has already been pledged to replenish this over the next 3 years). This leaves us being able to pay for the rectory/office/maintenance shop in full. This does not include appliances, office furniture for the secretary (my office furniture has been donated by a parishioner from St. John’s), window treatments, pavement for the walkway and driveway, permits, gas and electric hook-up fees, or landscaping. I am amazed and blessed by the generous hearts of those of you who have given so graciously and for the sacrifices you have made in making this a reality. We are also blessed for all the prayers from those who were not able to give. Without those prayers we would not be where we are today. We have not reached our goal of 200 families yet, but I am confident that with those donations we will reach 100% of our goal to cover the remaining costs by the time construction is completed.
Those of us of a certain age ... and maybe some younger people who enjoy musical theater, will remember the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, from the 1950s, based on a book by James Michener. It’s about U.S. troops stationed on an island during World War II. As with all musicals there are many songs throughout the play and/or film ... some romantic ballads, some upbeat numbers, a silly song or two ... the usual assortment. But one song really stands out as best expressing the heart of the story. It is called “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught.” In this song, a soldier struggling with feelings for a native girl, sings about prejudice ... and how we often grow up to have the same attitudes as the people most important to us ... especially our parents. It’s a touching and painful song, but it reveals some deep truths about why we often think the way we think.
Could someone’s sin make another person blind? You bet.
But God is NOT responsible for it. He is not the cause of it. We are. We take our own harmful attitudes, our own sinful thoughts, our own hatred and bitterness and cynicism and greed and dishonesty and we pass it on to others. To sons and daughters. To spouses. To siblings. To friends. To neighbors. To co-workers. Maybe not always intentionally. Maybe without us even being aware that we are doing it. But many of us ... sadly ... do it nonetheless. Maybe all of us to one degree or another. And the cycle continues.
Our own blindness becomes someone else’s blindness.
And so, as we travel through Lent, as we take a deep look within ourselves, as we strive to name and root out our sin ... let’s be sure to see our “blindness” as something that needs to be healed also ... see our “blindness” as something that doesn’t just harm ourselves but harms others. In other words, let’s sincerely acknowledge our lack of sight ... our harmful thoughts and attitudes and prejudices ... and ask God to help us see more clearly ... ask our loving God to put clay on our eyes, so that we can see and think and act more like him.
And in doing so, may we start carefully teaching others by word and deed ... helping them see more clearly too. The truth is ... if we can pass on blindness to one another, we certainly can pass on sight too. Be careful ... we might just change some hearts and thereby change the world.
Now to our Gospel passage, where John gives us an account of the man born blind. The question is asked “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” The answer of course from Jesus is neither sinned to cause this.
Blessings during your Lenten journey my friends!