Fourth Sunday of Lent



- Nick Bergeman, '13
U of D Jesuit

Something that I spend quite a bit of time pondering is God’s presence in the world. I look around me, and I see the suffering in the world, and I wonder where God is. I wonder how God lets the Holocaust happen, how He lets the Haiti and Japanese Earthquakes happen. In actuality, God does not do these things. These bad things happen, and when we ask God why He is doing nothing to help, but I have only recently realized that God asks me the same question.

In the Gospel passage this week, Jesus is questioned why a man he encounters was born blind. He responds simply, saying “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Jesus makes three things perfectly clear here: his handicap is not because of his sin, God can bring good things out of something “bad,” and that there will come times where God will magically fix our problems, and that it is up to us to resolve them. This is not an instance of God doing something bad to prove a point, but rather a demonstration that God is actively working in and through all situations to bring order out of chaos. Jesus, at the time, is subtly hinting to his followers that there will come a time soon that he will not be there to be the light (an important lesson in this Lenten season), but Jesus, like God does not abandon us, and that is why he dies on the cross. After such, the lesson of the Easter season is that Jesus has left for a greater purpose, and that he has left us an important mission to look for our vocation. To watch for the choice we are meant to make, urged each time we pray the Prayer for Generosity:

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.

The basic truth is thus: God does not do evil things. God only does good. However, atrocities occur daily. That leaves us wondering what we are to do. It has been said that those who have the ability to take action have the responsibility to take action. I think that Jesus would concur on the basis that God gave us the ability to take action. The involvement of the Pharisees scolding the man, and Jesus scolding the Pharisees proves an important lesson that the correct path may not be the easy one. The Pharisees stand on their proverbial mountaintop, holding true to what they know, and think is safe. Really, God calls us to a more dangerous position, and that position is to do what is right. The righteous path may be condemned by others, but Jesus “has your back” and is not going to abandon you. Never.
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