Some kind and meaningful thoughts from our Moderator, Father Dan Fitzpatrick SJ, Class of ’53

Prenote: We are all living in quarantine in our Jesuit Community. I’m sure many
of you are in different ways helping out in what way you can in your community. I asked
myself what can I do at this time? Even If I can not help people in need physically,
maybe I can do my part by writing a homily in the hope that I can give people some
spiritual nourishment when our Sunday Mass is unavailable. Many of you will miss
receiving Holy Communion. Remember, however, that you can always make a Spiritual
Communion in your hearts. As you know, there are many Masses being transmitted on
our different media. Remember also that there are two main parts of our Eucharist. The
first part is the Liturgy of the Word. When we hear the Word of God, we are nourished;
the Word feeds us and gives us new life in Christ. So I encourage you to take some time
on Sunday to be with the Word. Today’s reading is from the 9th Chapter of St John’s
Gospel. It is a long reading, but very rich. Before you start reading, tale a few minutes to
calm yourself, put yourself in God’s presence and ask for the grace to let the Gospel
speak to you. Then, read the Gospel slowly and stop and pray where the Lord is telling
you something. Try to hear Jesus’ love and care for you the way He cares for the blind
man. God bless you all,
Fr. Dan Fitzpatrick. SJ

4th Sunday – Lent – A – 2020

Today’s Gospel introduces us to a deep encounter between Jesus and this man
born blind. When we reflect upon the blind man. The image of the blind man is so
appropriate as we live today in the dark shadow of the coronavirus. We feel that we are blind since we don’t know where we are going. We have very little control of this virus
that is afflicting the whole world. Even the medical profession keeps telling us we do not
know the answer to so many questions. Like the blind man, we all long for light.
Three things about the blind man that we can pray over in the week ahead. First,
the blind man knows and admits his own darkness and need of light. Second, he has a
strong desire to leave the darkness behind and walk in the newness of light. Third, he is
willing to accept the responsibility that living in the light brings with it.

The blind man’s admission of his own blindness and darkness is, of course, in
contradistinction to the Pharisees in this story. We all have our share of darkness. We all
know within us those pockets of unbelief, of bondage, of poor and false judgment, of
death, of winter. Especially this year, Lent gives us the opportunity to look at ourselves, to face our own blindness and darkness in the light of God’s love. We see the darkness not
only in ourselves individually but also in our world. The coronavirus lets us know that we
do not have all the answers, that we are not in control of everything. This realization
brings with it unbelief, rebellion, anxiety, fear, lack of trust. and infidelity. Long ago at
our Baptism the Lord called us not to live in the darkness but in the light. The blind man
reminds us of this. Like him, we look to the Lord and remind ourselves that Jesus is with
us even in the darkness. The Lord remains the Lord of Light even when we are in
This Sunday we are praying in hope for the whole world and especially for those
afflicted by this terrible virus and for those who are taking care of them. It is significant
that only Jesus has compassion for the blind man and feels his joy. Not the religious
leaders like the Pharisees, no even his parents. No one reaches out to share this man’s
joy. Lent is a time for us to prepare for the dark days of the Lord’s Passion and beyond
to Resurrection, where Christ is Light of all. Because we believe, we also trust that the
Lord will be with us in this time of Passion and Death and bring us at last to New Life.
The blind man is a sign of hope for us at this time. Like God hovering over darkness and
chaos at the beginning of creation, so Jesus puts clay on the blind man’s eyes. And God
said: “let there be light.” The blind man sees; it is a moment of new creation. Imagine
what was going on inside of him as he sees for the first time in his life!
At the end of this Gospel, the blind man is willing to walk the road with Jesus. This
is risky business. Because there is more darkness ahead. If the light of the Resurrection is to come, the darkness of Good Friday must precede.
Today with all our weaknesses, our faults, and even our sins, Jesus tells us that He
will walk with us in this time of darkness and bring us into the light. What is our
response? Are we willing to hopefully embrace the light and walk the road with Jesus even to Calvary and beyond to Resurrection? We pray for a deeper trust in the Lord who is with us even in days of darkness. The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome.