23 March, 2020

It is your face, O Lord, that I seek: hide not your face from me.

~ Psalm 27 ~

Micah 7:7-9; Psalm 27; John 9:1-41

In the Gospel today the disciples are playing the blame game and ask what seems to be rather a silly question. They want to blame the blind man or his parents for his lot in life. Jesus, however, rejects this.


Notice how the focus in the Gospel shifts from the blind man, to his parents, to the neighbours and then finally to Jesus. When we are looking for someone to blame we sometimes do the same. We keep changing the focus, desperately seeking to keep the attention off ourselves so as to hide our inadequacies or take responsibility.


During Lent we are trying to come to terms with our own blindness and have our eyes opened. We will only do this when we have the conviction that we must take responsibility for who we are and what we have done or failed to do.


There are many types of blindness in the text. We also suffer from blindness on different levels: fear may cause us not to see but we can also be victims of psychological, spiritual and social blindness.


When the authorities question the man who has been healed for a second time, we see what taking responsibility and allowing God to heal us actually does. First, he is free; second, he is unafraid of those who try to blame him and intimidate him; third, he does not back off from the truth in order to satisfy the powers that be; and finally, he continues to focus on the Lord which leads to a deep conversion – “Lord I believe” – and he “worships” Jesus. The blind man has truly come to see the face of the Lord as we read in today’s Psalm. The one who was blind at the beginning of the text is, ironically, the one who now sees more clearly than anyone else!


Hopefully our Lenten journey is helping us to keep our attention on God and what God is doing. If we do this we are freed from layers of blindness. What layers of blindness within me does Lent seem to be asking me to examine?


Lord Jesus,


As you restore my sight in this Lenten time, remove the temptation I have to blame someone else or not take responsibility.


Open my eyes to authentic belief so that I can worship you alone.




Catholic Parliamentary

Liaison Office

Jesuit Institute
South Africa

This reflection has been adapted from Have Mercy, O Lord! Daily Reflections for Lent by Grant Tungay SJ, Russell Pollitt SJ, Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, Puleng Matsaneng, Anthony Egan SJ and Frances Correia, & published by the Jesuit Institute South Africa in 2016.

Reflection prepared by

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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