And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”
The context of this statement is Jesus’ healing of a man born blind. This particular healing stirred up trouble because the Pharisees saw the healing as a deliberate breaking of Sabbath law rather than God’s gift of grace to a man with no hope.
When you look at God, what do you see? A sugar daddy, who gives his kids everything they want (when they’ve been good)? A machine that dispenses blessings? A spiritual doctor you call on when something in your life isn’t right?
When you look at your parish, what do you see? A social club? A Filipino cultural association in the midst of an alien culture? A mutual aid and comfort society?
When you look at the Mass, what do you see? A friendship time for like-minded individuals? A filling-up station to prepare you for the work week ahead? A magic bullet to protect you from everything that will be coming against you?
When you look at the Church, what do you see? A company with a president, managers, and departments to provide services for you? A business that provides for its workers and has a small store-front in case people pass by who are interested in its product? A hospital for healing patients who come in, and helping them to avoid getting sick again?
When you look with human eyes you perceive your life and the world as things you have been given, things to use for you own purposes, things to keep or spend or discard according to your own preferences. With human eyes you can only see like little children. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
When we are born again we receive the ability to discern spiritual things, but we must learn to use our born-again eyes. We must resist the temptation to look with only our human eyes, for they rely on our old fallen human nature. “Do not look at … appearance or at … physical stature …. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
When we look with God’s eyes we see our life and the world as things we have been given, but even more as gifts we can give back to God, to offer as a sacrifice to the One who has given us everything – including eternal life!
When we look at God with God’s eyes we see a loving Father who trains and disciplines His children (Hebrews 12:5-11), an obedient Son who learned obedience by the things which He suffered and became our salvation (Hebrews 5:8), and an ever-present Holy Spirit who teaches us and leads us into all truth (John 16:13).
When we look at our parish with God’s eyes we see a team of people yoked with Christ, working alongside Him in love for God and love for our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40) to expand the Kingdom of God.
When we look at the Mass with God’s eyes we see the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16), broken and shed for us (1 Corinthians 11:24-25), calling us to lay down our lives for Him and for one another (1 John 3:16).
When we look at the Church with God’s eyes we see the Body of Christ: many different parts fulfilling many functions (1 Corinthians 12:12-27) – with Christ as the head – working together and depending upon one another to each do our share, causing the Body to grow and mature (Ephesians 4:11-16).
It is very important that we learn to see with God’s eyes. If we see with only human eyes we will make poor decisions based on incomplete information, the enemy will lead us astray, and we will be trapped in discouragement and failure. Worse yet, it will affect more than just ourselves.
The Church is the Body of Christ, and you are a part of that Body. Now imagine if you are an artery in the arm: if you aren’t functioning properly, then there is a part of the hand or the fingers which isn’t receiving the life-giving blood it needs. If this continues long enough, the part may stop working and even begin to die.
We are all parts of the Body of Christ, and we are all important to its function, whether you are laity or clergy, young or old; whether or not you have a title or a position; whether you are single or in a family; whether you have an impressive talent or are just faithful in raising your children or loving your neighbour.
You make a difference! God has created you uniquely and specifically for Himself, and for the edifying – the building up and maturing – of the Body of Christ. Without you someone will go spiritually hungry, someone may get discouraged or frustrated, someone may be hurting. I say this not to make you feel guilty, but to help you see with God’s eyes that you are not worthless, you have not failed, you are not washed up, and God has not abandoned you nor even discarded you from His ministry. Those are all lies of satan, who is trying to convince you that what you see with your eyes is all there is.
That’s the way the world sees things, and that is why the world is such a troubled and discouraged place right now. They are hurting and they have no hope. They don’t know what you know by the Holy Spirit. They don’t know the One you know, who gives you hope and a purpose, and fills you with love for the unlovable.
Want to change the world? They won’t change – they can’t change – until their spiritual eyes are opened, until they receive salvation and born-again eyes. You can’t change them ... but the Holy Spirit can. They just need to see that it’s possible. They will see it in you if you live seeing with God’s eyes and loving with God’s heart.
Want to change the world? Let God change you: ask Him to help you see with His eyes, and He will transform your life once more, just as He did that day when you accepted Jesus as you Saviour.
Word of God: speak!
Non nobis Domine+
by Fr. Dana Jackson