March 19, 2023
A young man excitedly told his spiritual director about a dream he had the night before: “I dreamt I fell into a deep pit. I was helpless and depressed, resigned to spending my final days at the bottom of this pit.
“A Confucius approached and said, “Let me give you some advice, my friend, if you get out of this trouble, don’t fall in a pit again.’
“A Buddhist came and said, “If you can ascend to where I can reach you, I will help you.’
“A Christian Scientist came along and said, “You only think you’re in a pit.’
“A Fundamentalist said, “You must deserve your pit,” for a self-righteous person had said, “Only bad people fall into pits’
“An IRS agent asked, “Are you paying taxes on this pit?’
“An optimist came along and said, “Things could be worse!’
“A pessimist said, “Things will get worse!’
“Then along came Jesus who, seeing my situation, jumped into the pit with me. He had me climb up on his shoulders and helped me out of the pit.”
Truly, the young man discovered a great hallmark of being a Christian-compassion. Christians are people who jump into the pit of life and help one another. We don’t stand on the sidelines as a spectator, we don’t mutter useless advice.
In today’s Gospel Jesus could have been like all the rest. He could have looked upon the man born blind with only a sense of pity. He could have conjectured on the reason for his blindness, was it his fault or the fault of his parents? Was he being punished for their sins? Or Jesus could have realized that curing someone on the sabbath would stoke the ire of the Pharisees and caused him big problems. Yes, Jesus could have concluded any or all of that. Or, he could jump right into this mess and aid a man born blind. That’s the way Jesus was back then and the way Jesus is now. For us, with us, Jesus will jump in because he cares for us. Jesus wants to embrace us with his love. That’s one reason why he gets involved when we struggle. But there’s another reason.
Coach Grant Teaff was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He had coached for nearly forty years at four different colleges, including McMurry College in Abilene, Texas in the early 1960’s. It was while he was at McMurry that the team was returning home after a game when the plane developed serious engine problems. The pilot announced that he would have to attempt an emergency landing. The plane was loaded with fuel, so an explosion was also likely.
As the plane sped downward, one of the players called out, “Coach Teaff, would you lead us in prayer? We’re all very frightened.” The coach shouted a prayer so everybody could hear.
Seconds later, the plane bellied across the runway. A shower of sparks engulfed it. Miraculously, however, it did not explode and no one was hurt. The next day Coach Teaff and his family were in church together. Right in the middle of the service, Coach got up, left the church, and went to McMurry Fieldhouse about a mile away. He went straight to the team’s locker room and knelt down and prayed:
God I know that you have a plan, a purpose, and a will for my life and the lives of these young men. I do not know what it is, but I’ll try to impress upon the young men I coach this year and forever that there is more to life than just playing football, that you have a purpose for our lives.
Sure, Jesus jumped into the fray on a sabbath day and cured a man born blind. Amazing! Fantastic! Everybody was talking about it and, no doubt, happy that the man could at long last see. That’s nice, but it wasn’t the point. As Jesus told his disciples, the man was born blind (and cured) so that the works of God might be made visible through him. That’s the point. That’s the purpose. That God might be praised. That God might be thanked. That all would glorify God after Jesus jumps into our lives and helps us. We can’t count the ways in which Jesus has helped but this Season of Lent is a good time to reflect on his compassion. And may it be true for us as it was for the blind man, that we humbly recognize the power of Christ, and enthusiastically praise and worship Almighty God.
I continue each week to be grateful to the Knights of Columbus for the wonderful Fish Fries. This week I also want to compliment them, along with members of our Activities Association, for the splendid job they did on the recently completed Third Grade Basketball Tournament. Compliments from visiting teams and fans were plentiful. It was another example of the good things that go on at Queen of All Saints.
God bless you always.