HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT – Cycle A

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The Blind Leading the Blind by Pieter Brueghel

HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF

LENT

Cycle A

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida

O God,

Who through your Word 

reconcile the human race to yourself

in a wonderful way,

grant, we pray,

that with prompt devotion and eager faith

the Christian people may hasten

toward the solemn celebrations to come.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ,

your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God,
for ever and ever.

Amen

(Collect)

“I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”

Those words taken from today’s Gospel have always seemed to me to be some of the most important words in the whole Gospel of our Lord and they have always instilled in me a small amount of fear and now more than ever. I have recently begun to experience ARED, age-related macular degeneration.

Those words, however, do not refer to physical blindness but rather to spiritual blindness which is far worse than physical blindness.

Those words are a call to genuine humility before God which is harder to achieve than fighting physical blindness.

It is in the nature of man to glory in the fact that unlike all other creatures on earth, man is made in the image and likeness of God.

How are we made in the image and likeness of God?  God does not have a body!  God is not substance is pure spirit, not matter; we are matter and spirit.

We are made in the image and likeness of God in that we have an intellect which can discover the inner essence of things and we have a will which enables us to choose freely with regard to the things we know.

Our faith is based on the revelation of Jesus Christ and the testimony of his apostles as handed down to us through the Fathers of the Church of the first three centuries of the life of the Church.

Our intellect causes us to seek understanding of what it is that we believe.  We should engage in this seeking of understanding guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the solemn teaching of popes and councils helped by philosophers and theologians. But sometimes we do not accept such guidance and ‘go it alone.’  That can be dangerous to our faith.

This is where humility comes in.  It seems to be natural for men and women throughout the history of the Church to let pride interfere with their understanding of the faith.  Some genius in the Middle Ages gave us this marvelous bit of advice:

It is better to get your head into heaven than to get heaven into your head !!!

That saying warns us that it is impossible to know everything about God and therefore with humility admit that you cannot know everything about God and concentrate on getting your head into heaven by obeying the precepts of the Lord and follow the way he described for you in his Gospel.

Intellectual pride is the curse of the over-educated person.  My guess is that there are more Doctors of Theology in hell than any other group of educated persons.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that I am anti-intellectual; on the contrary I have great respect for people who use their god-given brains to understand what it is that they accept on faith.

 Intellectual pride is a huge problem  Pride was the cause of the fall of Lucifer who thought himself equal to God and therefore not obligated to serve God.

Intellectual pride is at the root of many of the problems that now create a crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.

Men like Cardinals Kasper, Marx, et al have reasoned themselves into heterodoxy.  They claim “We see” and their pride blinds them to their spiritual blindness.

The antidote to their blindness is to apply the healing mud of humility to the eyes of their intellect and admit that the words spoken by Jesus Christ in the Gospel mean what they say and are not open to the kind of interpretation that robs them of their obvious meaning.

If we look for evidence that God favors humility in humans we have only to recall the pattern of God’s selection of individuals to be his prophets, men who spoke for God  telling people what God wanted people to hear.

God never chose intellectual giants to be his prophets.  Beginning with his choice of David to be his King and Psalmist God chose the weakest, the least likely to succeed to be his prophets.  Jeremiah, Isaiah, et al were all men whom others would have judged as least likely to succeed.  God put words in their mouths and they revealed God’s truth to others.

God surely chose the least likely to succeed so that it would be plain to all that it was God speaking through his prophet and not the prophet speaking on his own rhetorical ability or wisdom

The final words of today’s Gospel should strike fear in the hearts of all who boast of having a modern up-to-date understanding of Gospel as it applies to 21st Century society:

“Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard Jesus say ‘I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind’ and they said to him, ‘Surely we are not also blind, are we?’ and Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains”

Be humble, admit that you do not know everything.  There are two books you should consult frequently to help you remain humble: the Catholic Bible and  the Cathechism of the Catholic Church.  Both are available in very inexpensive editions from Amazon.com.

Buy they, read them, let them be your guide as your intellect seeks to understand what you believe through faith.

Cardinals Kasper, Marx and friends are the blind leading the blind.  Do not follow them!!!

O God,

Eternal Father,

help us to achieve true intellectual humility

in our search for understanding of what we believe.

Grant that we always see with 20/20 vision the path that your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed to us.

Grant that we will always seek to do your will rather than “doing it my way” with regard to our daily actions.

If we are becoming spiritually blind apply the healing ‘mud’ of your grace to the eyes of our soul that I may see clearly.

This I ask through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God,

forever and ever.

Amen!

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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