HOMILY & IDEAS

Turning Over Stones

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots for you.

A common preaching theme in the story of the man born blind is that the man who was born blind and who regains his sight grows in faith whereas the people born with the ability to see move further and further away from a life of faith.

The man born blind refers to his healer as -- the man called Jesus, a prophet, and then the Lord.

There is certainly a homily theme here on which to preach; specifically, what is spiritual sight and what is spiritual blindness? What things are important to see, feel, experience, observe and monitor in the spiritual life? What causes spiritual blindness? And, if we are experiencing such blindness, what can we do to seek healing?

When we are spiritually in tune, when we enjoy spiritual sight, what is it that we see or experience? We feel the love of God. We see Jesus as a model for life and a person to follow as a disciple. We see the power of the holy Spirit working in our lives to give us courage when we are afraid, to give us wisdom when we need to think wisely or speak wisely, and to inspire us to be models of faith to others. We see the presence of God around us in nature and in every loving gesture. We hear the personal words of God communicated to us through the voices of others and through the written word in scripture, in poetry, in literature, in song lyrics, cards and letters we receive, and even on billboards. We often ask ourselves what would Jesus do when we are faced with important decisions. In short, we feel plugged in to the spirit. We feel the presence of Jesus walking beside us. We feel the love of God washing over us. This is what is is like to have spiritual sight. This is what it is like to grow in faith.

Spiritual blindness is different. We feel empty, judgmental, envious, suspicious, afraid, autonomous, depressed, lonely, disconnected, and out of energy.

If we are feeling blind how do we get healed. How do we look for Jesus?

In the Gospel the first line reads -- As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. This may give us a hint of how to make a start. Oftentimes it begins with proximity. It begins with being in the right time at the right place. It begins with creating an opportunity. It begins with making our way closer and closer to Jesus so that we can give him the opportunity to help us in our need. This requires a conscious decision on our parts. We need to move closer to Jesus through our prayer. We need to move closer to Jesus though our reading of sacred scripture -- especially the gospels. We need to see Jesus as a healer. We need to see Jesus as our savior -- as our messiah. We don not need theology degrees. What we do need is a commitment of time and attention through an act of the will. We need to say to ourselves -- I am tried of feeling this way. I am tired of feeling blind. I want to see. I want to be healed. And, I am willing to do what it takes to grow closer to Jesus in order to be healed and to be given spiritual sight.

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