Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

John 9:1-41 I Know You By Heart

Fourth Sunday of Lent

(Click here for readings)

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

Believing is Seeing.   We have all heard the saying, "Seeing is believing."  Well today, the Lord is turning our visual world upside down (that is, right-side up)  by saying "Believing is seeing."

A long time ago, I attended a wedding in which a beautiful blind young lady married a not-so-attractive young man.  As I child, I was puzzled.  She was beautiful.  He was unattractive.  Why in the world would she ever marry a guy like that?  It took me about twenty years to understand.  He loved her and she loved him.  She knew him the best way you can know anyone: by heart.   

Conditioned by sight.  Having sight is an amazing gift, but it can also be an awful handicap.  It can get in the way of getting to know people. 

Those who are visually impaired have an advantage over those who are not.  They don't live by appearances, so they take their time getting to know someone.  They don't judge on sight.   They see and learn through the heart.  I know you by heart. 

The Lord wants to turn our world right-side up.  He wants us to start judging not by appearances but by the heart.   He knows us.  He knows us well.  And He knows we tend to see things for what they appear to be, rather than as they really are. 

He knows how appearances can heavily (and negatively) influence our conclusions.  He knows how we can judge rich people as happy people or poor people as miserable people.  He knows how we can be seduced into believing that actors are knowledgeable people; or that attractive people are amazing or lucky people; or that professors and/or priests are boring people. 

He knows how we can equate great speakers as great leaders. 

He knows, to our embarrassment, how easily we can judge others based on the color of their skin.

How wrong of us.  And we can blame some of it on our sight.

"Believing is seeing."  This is absolutely true.  And I have come to see things in my life only because I first believed in them.  This isn't novel.  This is a part of our reality. 

"Believing is seeing" happens all the time.  It happened when man landed on the moon.  Didn't we first imagine it?  It happened when wireless communication became a reality.  Wasn't Gene Roddenberry the first to envision it?  It happened with light sabers.  Didn't George Lucas design them before scientists ever got to work on them?

The day we stop believing new things will be the day we stop seeing new things.     

The key to knowing God is through the heart.  When it came time for the prophet Samuel to pick a King for Israel, he went to Jesse's home to pick one out.  As he looked for the tallest and most dashing boy, the Lord spoke to him, saying, Be careful, Samuel.  Be careful. "Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart" (Samuel 16:6-7). 

In the end, the youngest son, David, was picked...and the rest is history. 

Turning things right-side up.  All of us have had positive and negative experiences. And although past experiences do not change, our understanding of them do.  And so what we once judged to be a negative experience, may be something positive today; and what we once thought was a positive experience, may actually have been the start of something horribly negative. 

"Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light" (Eph. 5:14).

Awake! is another way of saying "Open your eyes!"

The best way to get to know someone is through the heart, not by our senses or by reading about them.  That's why so many people believe in God, regardless of how different our "bibles" may be.  They can have a real experience of Him through the heart.

And as you can imagine, it's much harder to get to know people than it is to get to know God.  After all, God does not change.  WE DO, and do so constantly.  Let's just hope we are constantly hanging for the better.

The man who was once blind took a leap of faith and came to believe in Jesus.  The Pharisees, who had no problem seeing Him, shut their eyes on Him.  Their problem was a lack of belief, not a lack of evidence.   

"Believing is seeing."  
It's Christ's motto. 
It's our experience.


  1. You conclude this meditation well: "Their problem was a lack of belief, not a lack of evidence." I always wondered, and still wonder, why the Pharisees made curing on the Sabbath such a sticking point with Jesus' miracles. From a modern perspective, this seems absurdly legalistic, but I try to remember that the Jews thought differently of the Sabbath than we do. To violate this period of Rest (yes, rest with a capital "R"), even with something as wonderful as healing, was thought to disrupt a law that God established from the dawn of creation. And if a person could heal on the Sabbath, why not sell goods people want on the Sabbath, and take a vacation to beach instead of attending temple service on the Sabbath? A modern person would see no problem in this, but the Jews recognized that if their community has a holy place, the temple, they must also have a holy time, the Sabbath. When Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" he could have very well referenced man's time-restricted mortality necessitating a holy time that reflected holy eternity with God. He probably did not mean that the Sabbath was for man to ignore God, watch football, and live like a hedonist.

    Perhaps we judge the Pharisees wrongly by accusing them of narrow-minded legalism. Yes, some of that exists in this case, but I think the Pharisees fail to see the new order of Christ, which, admittedly, even the disciples themselves struggled to see. Christ does not violate the Sabbath so that all people can return to their daily lives and turn their backs on observing God's rest; he works on the Sabbath because he is the Sabbath. He is God who can do these things; no one else can do this though, for they would usurp God's role. Pope Emeritus Benedict makes this point in his series Jesus of Nazareth. Only after writing this, do I have an inkling of what he meant.

    If we open our eyes like the blind man, we will not see that the Pharisees are intolerant bullies, but that Jesus is so great as to cure blindness and embody the Sabbath. The Pharisees erred by not even considering the possibility of God before them--a mistake many of us would make if we saw the same thing today. If they considered Jesus' divinity they would then seek to understand Jesus instead of seeking ways to disprove Him--consider a stubborn scientist, dumbfounded by the miracle of Fatima, consciously discounting obvious facts instead of understanding them. They asked the right question, "the Pharisees asked him, how he could see," but they did not bother to find the true answer, only their preferred answer. To do so would require humility, humility that a person with all his functioning faculties and all his learning might make difficult to achieve.

  2. Hello Fr. Alfonse,

    I just listened to your homily for Sunday. It was really good! I have to say that you are a much better speaker than writer. I'm just sayin'.

    It was truly a beautiful homily.

    Thank you.

    I continue to pray for you, as I know you pray for all of us.

  3. What I meant to say was that you are a very good writer but a great speaker. It was suppose to be a compliment!

    1. Don't worry. A man has to know his limitations. :)


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