Today I want to combine the two Sundays of no public Masses into one theme: worship from the heart. God’s providential goodness is amazingly beautiful, when we can see it. We see it (by His grace) when we open our hearts to His light and look for it. On that point let us begin with the Gospel today.
Jesus heals a man blind from birth (Jn 9:1-41). When Jesus was asked about the origin of the blindness, whether it was the sin of his parents or the man’s own sin, our Lord replies, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” Jesus says a bit more, but I want to focus on the reason for the blind man’s trial — so that the works of God might be made visible. This is not the only time that Jesus mentions that trials are for our sake, so that we may see the works of God.
Last week we saw the testimony of the woman at the well, “‘Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?’ They went out of the town and came to him” (Jn 4:29-30). The people rushed to see Jesus because of the truth He had spoken to the woman in her heart. She testified to Him, and they believed!
Jesus will say in the Gospel next week, before the raising of Lazarus, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (Jn 11:4).
God is glorified through our weaknesses and trials! Nothing, not even death, can stop Him!
So what does this have to do with worship from the heart?
God can change my heart through this crisis, if I let Him. I need to be open to the light, to the truth that God is with us (Emmanuel). I cannot be like the Pharisees in today’s Gospel, who, when presented with goodness, find reasons to reject it (cf. Jn 9:16). I must resist the hardening of my heart — and see the goodness and truth that is right in front of me — in my family and in the sacrifices of all who are working in hospitals, grocery stores, and delivery services (to just name a few!).
Love requires sacrifice, and Love Himself has given us the ONE, true sacrifice that is re-presented to the Father for all time in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Whether we are physically present at the liturgy or not, Jesus’ sacrifice is offered to the Father everyday by His ministerial priests, and we can join ourselves to it. We are baptized priest, prophet, and king, and it is in these capacities that we are called and equipped to make sacrifices ourselves. Jesus said to the woman last week, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him” (Jn 4:23). The hour is here. “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (cf Ps 95:7-8).
I ask you, dear reader, do you have love in your heart?
If you have love in your heart, you have God (cf 1 Jn 4:16). Anyone who has love in their heart has God in their heart, and can make sacrifices into acts of true worship through the love they give their neighbor. These sacrifices are true worship when they are united to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. Every moment is a gift, even in time of crisis, or should I say, especially in time of crisis. God is with us, indeed, we just need eyes to see it. Open the eyes to my heart, Lord!
Amen. Jesus, I trust in You!