Today’s headline above the fold … and TV scrolling Breaking News:
It’s a Miracle! Man Born Blind Can Now See!
Earlier today a man, blind from birth, encountered the man they call Jesus of Nazareth and apparently now he can see! It was Jesus who stopped and spoke to the man, rubbed clay on his eyes, and then instructed him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. Like magic, the blind man then could suddenly see! Of course, some of the authorities spoke out in dismay since this so-called healing took place on the Sabbath. Even his parents had very little to comment out of fear of repercussions. However, what’s the bottom line? Man born blind now can see!
Fake news for sure! Like my mother always said, “If a story is too good to be true, it probably is.” There are just so many fake news stories nowadays it can be very difficult knowing truth from fiction. We need to be very careful.
I don’t blame those Pharisees for being overly cautious. Someone spreading such news could have really upset things to the point of creating chaos. But of course, everyone is drawn to sensationalism.
There is an overwhelming flood of news and information that can wash us away if we are not careful. Unfortunately, much of it is commentary disguised as factual news coverage. Then there is the phenomenon of fake news stories that so often mislead well-intentioned people. With all this inundating us, it is easy to become overly skeptical of anything we hear, or even simply deaf to all news, fake or real.
Of course, once you cut away all the junk you can find truth out there. In living out our faith, we are dependent on knowing truth. Yet too often we act like the facts of our faith story are up for debate. We begin to see the account of Jesus in the Gospels as just another series of tales like they were written for a grocery store aisle magazine.
The story of the healing of the blind man tells of an encounter with Jesus that leads to freedom and healing. Jesus was and is real and the fact that he can heal us should be undisputed. But too often we live our lives in desperation and despair, seemingly unaware that we can take our burdens to Jesus. We act like the Bible story is just a nice tale to be told at church and not one that exists to change our lives.
My fear is that too many Christians hear the stories of Jesus but they don’t listen to them. When we hear something we take in sound and physically react. When we really listen we internalize what we hear and then form a real opinion that can motivate us for a response. Indeed, in our world we are lacking a good bit of response to the Gospel.
These Gospel readings of the three weeks in which we find ourselves, from the Samaritan woman at the well to the raising of Lazarus, are proclaimed every year at the liturgies that feature Scrutinies for those in RCIA. They are meant to truly form and change the person who listens to them. They tell of a Jesus who offers us new life in him. Our Savior offers living water, dispels the darkness, and conquers the power of death. These are not simply the climaxes to good stories. This is real truth.
The Son of God is alive and well and we are all called to testify to that truth with our lives. We must step out of the shadows and be bold in our testimony. We must proclaim to a world in dire need that Jesus is Lord. We must take seriously the call to evangelize all who can hear and to spread the good news to the ends of the earth.
After all, it isn’t fake news. It isn’t alternate facts. It isn’t even simply factual news. It is the GOOD news.