Sunday, March 31, 2013


Easter Sunday (Mass During the Day)
Correct Thou My Vision

Picture: cc phr3qu3ncy

Sisters and brothers, have you ever had the experience of having your vision corrected? A week or so ago, I went for a routine medical check-up. And, at one point, the doctor made me stand against one wall of his clinic and look at an alphabet chart on the opposite wall. Take off your glasses, he said. And tell me what you see. I followed his instructions and, as might be expected, I could see nothing. Or rather, I could see something. But it was all a blur. It was only after I had put my glasses back on that everything became clear again. The experience was a timely reminder for me of how dependent I am on my lenses. Without them, the world is but a blur. Without them, I can’t see clearly at all.

I’m well aware, of course, that not all of us here need glasses or contact lenses. And yet, doesn’t the eye itself contain a lens, without which, we would all be unable to see clearly? Whether we realise or care to admit it or not, without proper lenses, all of us would suffer from blurred vision.

All of which may help us to understand a little better, what is happening in our Mass readings today. In the gospel, we’re told that, early on Sunday morning, three disciples of Jesus arrive at his tomb and find it empty. But, what’s perhaps even more important, while at the tomb, something happens to Mary and Peter and the unnamed disciple whom Jesus loved. Something momentous. To better appreciate what happens to them, we need to pay close attention to what they see. When Mary first arrives at the tomb, she sees what looks like a crime scene. Someone has shifted the stone from the entrance and stolen the Lord’s body. It’s reasonable for us to assume that this is also what Peter and the beloved disciple see at first. Mary has summoned them to what looks like the scene of a crime.

And yet, by the end of the reading, the scene has shifted quite dramatically. At least for two of them. On entering the tomb, and observing the neatly arranged burial cloths, Peter and the beloved disciple begin to see things differently. They start to realise that the empty tomb is not really the scene of a crime, but a sign that something truly extraordinary has happened. They begin to understand the teaching of scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. And, in understanding this teaching, their vision is corrected by the lens of the Lord’s Resurrection. Their blurred image of the world becomes clear for the first time. What initially looks like the scene of a crime is transformed into the source of New Life. The tomb becomes a womb.

This experience of having one’s vision corrected is not limited to a single occurrence at the empty tomb. In the first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, something similar happens to Peter yet again. To appreciate what’s happening, it’s helpful to recall that Peter is sharing the Good News with Cornelius, a gentile. And he is doing this in Cornelius’ own home. The home of a gentile. How, we may wonder, does Peter–himself a Jew–come to be in the house of someone whom the Jews considered unclean? Is Peter not afraid of being defiled?

Peter is able to visit Cornelius only because the Lord has shown Peter that God does not have favourites. But that the message of the Resurrection is meant for all. Jew and gentile alike. Somehow Peter has had his vision corrected. Seen through the blurry eyes of the Law, the house of Cornelius is nothing but a place of defilement. But seen through the lens of Resurrection faith, the place is transformed for Peter, into a privileged opportunity for sharing the Good News. As much in the first reading as in the gospel, Peter’s vision is corrected. His blurred image of reality is clarified for him.

These examples of how the lens of Resurrection faith corrects the disciples’ blurred perceptions of reality may help us to understand better what is written in the second reading. Here, we’re told to let our thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth. Surely, this does not mean that we should go around continually gazing up at the sky. Otherwise, how would we be able to see where we were going? What it does mean is that we should be looking at earthly things always only through the heavenly lenses of the Lord’s Death and Resurrection. So that our sight, which is so prone to becoming blurry, can constantly be corrected. So that, in all things, we may truly enjoy clarity of vision.

Isn’t this also what our new pope, Francis I, has been doing since he was elected? By choosing, for example, to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Passion in a juvenile detention centre. By washing the feet of the young inmates there, including those of Muslims and of women. What was the Pope doing, if not providing the world with a lens with which to correct its vision? A lens with which to see more clearly. A divine lens provided by the very Mystery that we are celebrating so solemnly and so joyously today. The Mystery of the Death and Resurrection of the Lord.

And isn’t this what we continue to need more than ever today. Today, when it remains so very tempting to see the world only through the lenses of competition and suspicion and resentment. Of technological efficiency and economic gain and political expedience. Today, when many of us continue to discriminate against one another solely on the basis of race or religion. Of financial means or social status. Of gender or physical and mental ability. Today, more than ever, we need to have our blurred images of reality clarified by the Dying and Rising of Christ. For this is the corrective lens through which we can see ourselves and our world more sharply. This is the Lord’s Easter gift to His Church. A gift that we are all called to use wisely and to share generously with others.

Sisters and brothers, on this joyous Easter morning, how might we better allow our Crucified and Risen Lord to correct our vision today?


5 comments:

  1. O Risen Lord and Saviour,

    on this most holy day of Your Resurrection,

    BE THOU OUR VISION &

    help us to see You, to see others and to see the world around us, with the eyes of faith - a faith that is rooted in YOU, a faith that believes even though we do not understand - in particular - the meaning and the POWER of Your RESURRECTION.

    O Risen Lord, please dispel all darkness in our hearts and minds, remove our cataracts of prejudices and restore our clarity of sight, so that we can see what You want us to see as we seek to do your will.

    Many years ago, I was very fascinated with a hymn in a musical which highlighted the Lord's Resurrection, and I still remember this first line of the hymn which goes:

    "Now I see You, with open eyes, Lord..."

    it is a very beautiful hymn that depicts how we can see God anew with a fresh vision and with a new perspective if only we allow God to open our eyes and to experience HIM anew.

    On this Easter Sunday, may we ask You to open our eyes, Lord, so that we can SEE You anew, as we live our NEW LIFE in You.

    Pax Christi
    Seeing Is Believing

    Easter Sunday 2013

    ReplyDelete
  2. fr christopher

    thanks for this powerful message. I chanced upon your blog and started reading it ever since the penitential service @ holy cross on 22 apr. You have a way of breaking the word with simplicity and clarity. Thanks for helping me have see thru the lens of Resurrection faith..

    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
  3. "O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak. Heal me, LORD, for my body is in agony."

    "My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies. Go away, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my crying. The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD will answer my prayer. May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified. May they suddenly turn back in shame."

    Like the Psalimist, if we desires God to heal our blurred vision, we will need to be patient and listen to Him. He will show His way to us in due course, thus, have our blurred vision corrected.

    Peace

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    Replies
    1. O Risen Lord and Saviour,

      May all who hunger and thirst for YOU be filled with Your Love and Graces in abundance.

      May every heart who is opened, receive You & be filled with all the blessings and graces which only YOU can give.

      Wipe away every tear from our eyes; strengthen every trembling knee & heal all our broken hearts, so easily and so often wounded by the godlessness around us.

      This Easter, Lord, be Our Vision, open our eyes to SEE You more clearly, love you more dearly and walk more closely with You.

      Lord, grant us the grace and the COURAGE to dare to DWELL, to REMAIN and ABIDE IN YOUR LOVE, for it is only IN YOU that our restless hearts will find its rest and total fulfilment.

      O Risen Lord and Saviour, May you Reign Supreme in us and in our lives, as You are Our Lord, Our God and Our All. Amen.

      Pax et Bonum
      Seeing Is Believing

      Delete
  4. As quoted from another blog, "Love does open one’s eyes to love." 

    In the past, I could not understand what true and unconditional love was, until our God opened that deceitful veil from my eyes that I truly understand. Because of this love He has showed and touched me, I have hope, peace and joy.

    PTL
    Zita

    ReplyDelete

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