Satan’s four lethal doses of BLINDNESS injections

by Paul Yeung

Fourth Sunday of Lent

1 Samuel 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A

The LORD said to Samuel: “Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem,for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice,Samuel looked at Eliab and thought,“Surely the LORD's anointed is here before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature,because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see,because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel,but Samuel said to Jesse,“The LORD has not chosen any one of these.” Then Samuel asked Jesse,“Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied,“There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.” Samuel said to Jesse,“Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.” Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said,“There—anoint him, for this is the one!” Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand,anointed David in the presence of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

Ephesians 5:8-14

Brothers and sisters:

You were once darkness,but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light,for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: “Awake, O sleeper,and arise from the dead,and Christ will give you light.”

John 9:1-41

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him,“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents,that he was born blind?” Jesus answered,“Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva,and smeared the clay on his eyes,and said to him,“Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent—. So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said,“Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is, “but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.” So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He replied,“The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.' So I went there and washed and was able to see.” And they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I don't know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them,“He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.” So some of the Pharisees said,“This man is not from God,because he does not keep the sabbath.” But others said,“How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again,“What do you have to say about him,since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them,“Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?” His parents answered and said,“We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now,nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ,he would be expelled from the synagogue. For this reason his parents said,“He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner.” He replied,“If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” So they said to him,“What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them,“I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” They ridiculed him and said,“You are that man's disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses,but we do not know where this one is from.” The man answered and said to them,“This is what is so amazing,that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners,but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God,he would not be able to do anything.” They answered and said to him,“You were born totally in sin,and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out,he found him and said, ADo you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said,“Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him,“You have seen him,the one speaking with you is he.” He said,“I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said,“I came into this world for judgment,so that those who do not see might see,and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?” Jesus said to them,“If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,' so your sin remains.

The sacrifice of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, has redeemed us from The Fall due to the original sin committed by Adam and Eve as a result of Satan's first temptation. Throughout the ages, Satan has never stopped His vicious attack to break our restored relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Satan's first appeal is to blind us with the tendency to think too highly of our ways when we should follow God's ways. Let us call to mind what our Lord says, “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) Remember how God chose David among the other more appropriate choices by human's standard. Yielding to this temptation by the devil, we deprive ourselves of God's wisdom and set ourselves up for failure.

Satan follows through with a strong dose of spiritual darkness which incapacitates us from acknowledging our inner darkness (our sinfulness) and from bringing it into the light. The story from the gospel stages a stark contrast between those who can see Jesus clearly and are ready to profess their faith to others even by acknowledging their own sinful past, and those who, due to their pride, distance themselves from God's mercy and love without even knowing it. The latter are often the ones with eyes, but cannot see; with ears, but cannot hear; with heart, but cannot love. Those are also the ones who deny their need to go to confessions.

Satan further flexes his muscles as he further robs us of the state of spiritual awareness with an urge of keeping ourselves busy with lots of (good) works, in order to numb us and keep us away from the much needed time to pray, to reflect, and to discern God's will.

As if all these attacks were not enough to kill us of our own blindness, Satan makes a slam dunk punch by luring us to join force with those spiritually blind through a collective justification of our own sinfulness/selfishness resulting in social sin and many unjust sinful structures which are much harder to break. The legalization of abortion is an exemplar of Satan's successes.

Pride and selfishness cripple us from being able to recognize Jesus in our lives and in others, and render us incapable of searching for one's true mission on earth. The sacrament of reconciliation helps us to straighten our path with access to God's special graces.

By the sacrament of baptism, we become children of God. Together, let us “live as children of light. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:8, 10-11)