Journeying Together is a weekly series of Lenten reflections. Each Monday during Lent, a student or adult from the Prep community will share a reflection, which will be archived here. Our fourth reflection comes from Mr. Christopher Caulfield, ’03, chair of the English department.
When I reflect on the concept of faith, I am often drawn to the difficulty of it. I’m sure that recently, many of us have been thinking about how difficult it can be to remain faithful in times of stress and uncertainty. I often ponder the arduous task of believing in something without seeing it or having proof. We can become so mired in the impossibility of believing without seeing that we overshadow the sheer beauty and grace that is faith. This passage from John is a great example of that grace manifested in Jesus.
In this particular story, John incorporates wonderful imagery to establish a clear message about faith. He uses the common motifs of blindness versus sight and light versus darkness found throughout the Bible to call our attention to the beauty of faith. As Jesus heals the blind man he claims we must “do the works of the one who sent me when it is day.” The message here is clear: our time in this world is limited, as “night is coming when no one can work.” By proclaiming himself as “the light of the world”, Jesus shows us the way to the Father. We must use our gifts to do good works while we have the chance. Opening the eyes of the beggar is just one example of Jesus using his gifts to do good in the world. Figuratively, this moment represents Jesus’ ability to open the eyes of anyone who believes in him and follows his word. For Jesus was brought into this world “so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”
John’s image of sight and blindness is brought full circle when the citizens, Pharisees, and even Jesus’ disciples showcase common misconceptions about people with visible “faults.” They all believe that the blind beggar was “born of sin” because they cannot see past his blindness. How often do we as a society cast judgements on others whom we know little about. An easy way out is to believe that those who society rejects have deserved casting out through actions of their own. This is the easy way out because it blinds us from shedding light on our own faults that should bind us to any person. We all make mistakes, we all sin, and the season of Lent should open our eyes to that fact. As a community of believers, we need to use Lent as a reminder that we can be just like the Pharisees, being told something, but failing to listen. By opening our hearts and truly looking inside ourselves, we can begin to love others in spite of their sins because our eyes will be opened to the fact that our common humanity is showcased by each of us overcoming sin through the beauty of faith.
Mr. Christopher Caulfield, ’03, English
You can find all of our weekly Journeying Together reflections here.