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Lenten reflections

Lenten Reflections

The picture shows Bishop Brian Noble during the a Lenten Reflection morning at Sacred Heart & St Peter's church in March.  Read the full story for a series of reflections on the Sunday gospel during Lent by Fr Michael Coughlan


The Man Born blind

Sight is a gift I suspect t most of us take for granted. How often do we actually really notice what we are passing or what we are seeing? On a lovely sunny day like today we bask in the sunshine, we like to feel the suns rays on us, but do we take notice of how vibrant all the colours become? We are actually more dependent on light than we perhaps admit, even to ourselves. Light gives us the ability to move around unhindered, to move at speed. Perhaps with our modern lights we rarely notice when it goes dark other than to close the curtains & put the light on. This was brought home to me the other day when I had forgotten to fit the new lights to the bike & began to cycle back through Wythenshawe park. Needless to say as it got darker & I left street light behind, the slower & more carefully I cycled!

The situation in today's Gospel asks us to examine closely how we see. Not perhaps on the physical or visual sense of the word but in the metaphorical & spiritual sense. The man who has been blind from birth recognises that his healing has come from God, this is what he tells the Pharisees. They in turn tell him, a sinner, not to lecture them on matters about which they know best!

Focus today, are we willing to risk seeing what God is doing in our world?  Are we prepared to face up to & face down the injustices in our world. 37years ago last Friday Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot & killed for that. For witnessing to the truth that only love can ultimately conquer. For us like Jesus, like Oscar Romero, it will involve travelling the way of the Cross. Are we prepared to take the risk that love will triumph? Are we truly prepared to see?

Lazarus

Recently after many years I came across one the Scooby Doo cartoons again. One thing which never occurred to me then but did this time round is that nearly every episode involves a mummy chasing Scooby & Shaggy at some point within the episode. This set me thinking… Mummies & life after death fascinate us, the number of TV programmes either documentary style or film is quite extraordinary. The existential questions, the ideas of what happens after this life touch a nerve within us.

Both our readings & the Gospel today pick up on this theme of Resurrection, they look at the question of life & life in all its fullness. St Paul tells us that though we are dead through sin, through our actions which distance us from God's love, yet still God comes to us in order to set us free, to bring us life. Whilst Paul talks in metaphors & images, Jesus in our Gospel reading today confronts the issue head on. Jesus' friend Lazarus is dying so his sisters send a message to Jesus to tell him. By the time Jesus arrives Lazarus has died & been buried 4 days previous.

Martha tells Jesus that she knows that had he been there he could have cured Lazarus yet even now he will rise from the dead on the last day. Jesus however takes her one step further. Jesus is the resurrection & the life, the one who shares with us God's own life. A life that begins now, here today, renewed every time we share in the Eucharist & are  nourished by it. In the Prophet Ezekiel God promises to open the graves of his people & restore them to the land. Their exile in a foreign country was seen as a kind of death, God promises that he will turn that round, give them life. Jesus calls Lazarus back to life in today's Gospel, but it is a calling back into this life because as John's Gospel puts it Jesus' hour had not yet come. Through his passion, death & resurrection Jesus breaks the bonds of death, overcomes all that separates us from God & shares with us God's own life. This is a life we receive in Baptism, our sharing in the passion of Christ, it is a life that we nourish now in the Eucharist & it is a life which continues forever in heaven when we shall as children of our loving Father, enjoy the vision of God face to face for eternity.

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