Lord, give us true gift of freedom
And help us to see what you see and hear what you hear,
so as to link our social issues with your Gospel.
Where am I deaf? Where am I blind? These are the questions an authentic Christian disciple cannot assume asking especially today when Saint James in the second reading is powerfully speaking to us. He is addressing a community which is becoming proud because it includes the wealthy and distinguished men and women and this community is falling into a risk of indifference to the rights of the poor and justice is disappearing. Love of the neighbor which is the cornerstone to justice is disappearing. They are becoming blind; they are becoming deaf to their social realities/concrete situations.
We are gifted and truly blessed in many ways but our pride and hardness can make us blind and deaf to the injustices around us, to the poor person living at our gate. God is concerned with our social life; he is concerned with our blindness and hardness of hearing. Isaiah alludes to the Lord’s coming; “he will come and save you” (Isa 35:4), Jesus shows us his concern in the gospel today.
Where am I blind? Where can’t I hear?
The blindness I am referring to is not the one I met in one person in the parish I worked a couple of years ago. He was blind yet he was truly gifted with a mastery of every person’s voice he listened to. Though he was blind he connected himself with his community through that sense of hearing. He articulately said the intercessory prayers in every Sunday mass. He wasn’t spiritually blind.
What makes a Christian disciple blind or deaf so as to lose the vision of God’s reign? Jesus invites us to answer this question today. Our indifference to injustices happening around us, science that offers a rationality that excludes God, a culture that promotes corruption and unforgiviness that yields revenge and bitterness makes us spiritually blind.
Ephphatha- “Be opened”, these are the words of Jesus to all of us distinguished men and women, ladies and gentlemen, learned and unlearned and people of all walks of life. Jesus invites us to see and hear his vision, see the beauty of faith, sacraments, community and social issues around us. He invites us to create a just social order and be in solidarity with the poor and the marginalized.
We cannot separate social issues with the gospel. We can only admit we suffer a deficit in our capacity to see and hear perhaps; an orphan who lacks parental love and needs our attention, a lay person longing to receive the annulment in her marriage that seems in jeopardy, or any other pastoral issue/need, a youth or any person who is struggling with drug addiction, a religious person silently struggling to respond to his /her vocation and the high cost of living at the expense of us all and especially more painful to the poor.