Throughout the Lenten season, we’ll be posting reflections for holy days and Sundays. These reflections are taken from this year’s Lenten reflection booklet, The Beauty We Must Hold Fast To: Reflections for Lent 2022, which includes all-new reflections written by former Pax Christi USA General Secretaries, National Coordinators and Executive Directors. Click here to see all reflections as they are posted as well as links to other Lenten resources on our Lent 2022 webpage.
Today’s reflection is written by Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN.
reflection for the FOURTH sunday of lent, MARCH 27, 2022
by Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN
& Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a | Ephesians 5:8-14 | John 9:1-41
(readings are the Scrutiny readings, Year A)
Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. (Eph 5:14)
What causes blindness?
Today’s nameless, blind and begging person is the object of harassment, badgering, and interrogation instead of being celebrated for the marvel he experiences … sight.
The neighbors of the once-blind person are not satisfied with the person’s explanation of Jesus’ undivided attention to the suffering of blindness and the cure that followed, so they bring him to the Pharisees where the constant questioning & berating continues. No matter how many times the newly-sighted tells the story, the less belief there is in the answers and eventually he/she is dismissed and thrown out.
So wanting to blame, the disciples ask Jesus if the parents were responsible or if the person him/herself was the reason for the lack of sight … in short: What causes blindness? Is it a refusal to see? Is it a disbelief in the obvious? Is it such a tight hold on tradition, myth and folklore that causes us to be blinded?
So like the Pharisees and the neighborhood in today’s Gospel story, we are so quick to assign judgment and blame on what we do not/cannot/will not understand. The reading from 1 Samuel tells us, “Do not judge from appearances … for God looks into the heart.”
Yet, how blind are we who do make judgments based on outward appearances such as skin color, economic status, political persuasion, gender orientation, etc. We are quick to ask someone to ‘tell us your story,’ and, like in today’s Gospel, negate the explanation and experience that is shared.
The hope for us lies in Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel: “I came into this world so that those who do not see, might see.”
- What gets in the way of you truly being able to see?
- What judgments keep you from seeing clearly?
>> Join us on Monday, March 28, when we will read another reflection from Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN and Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN, from the fourth week of Lent. Click here for more information and to register.
ACTION: Plan a Good Friday Way of the Cross with your Pax Christi USA local group, Catholic Worker community, partners and friends to address the intersectionality of war, racism, economic injustice, the climate crisis & more by reflecting on Jesus’s steps to Calvary. Click here for more information.
Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN was the executive director of Pax Christi USA from 2011-19. Sr. Patty served as full-time President of the National Black Sisters’ Conference from 1995-2001 & was the recipient of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious 2020 Outstanding Leadership Award. Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN served as Pax Christi USA interim executive director in 2019 & as program director from 2012-20. She is the co-chair of the SND/USA Anti-Racism Team. Sr. Patty and Sr. Anne-Louise are pioneers in working with religious congregations on dismantling racism.