Fr. John's Column - March 26, 2017
As we listen this week to the great story of Jesus healing
the man born blind, we are reminded that Jesus had a great concern for others. This
concern went beyond people’s spiritual needs and included their physical
wellbeing. Whether it was healing the sick, giving to the poor, or raising up
the oppressed, Jesus reached out a hand to help.
A traditional part of Lent is that on the Fourth Sunday a
collection is taken called the ‘World Concern Collection’. With this collection
we follow Jesus’ example and demonstrate our solidarity with people throughout the
world who are in need of our assistance. By donating to this collection we help
people grow spiritually but also help them meet their physical needs. With this
collection the Church is able to support a variety of initiatives including:
Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa helps the still very young but rapidly
growing Church in Africa provide for Catholic Schools, vocational training,
employment, and other pastoral projects vital to this region.
Relief Services extends our generosity to the poor and victims of disasters
around the world including places affected by earthquakes, hurricanes, floods,
and war. Often CRS is among the first organizations to arrive on scene and is
known for being the last to leave. CRS is frequently recognized as being one of
the best organizations to donate toward because their administrative costs are
amazingly low, which allows the majority of your dollar contributed to go
directly to those in need.
Church in Latin America provides resources to the economically impoverished
Church in Latin America that continues to be troubled by poverty, injustice,
and political turmoil.
Collection to Aid the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe helps with the
rebuilding of parishes, schools, seminaries, and religious educational programs
in a part of the world once controlled by Communist governments.
Collection for the Holy Father (Peter’s Pence) enables our Holy Father to
respond to appeals for assistance that come to him.
The disciples in this week’s Gospel try to explain why the
man was born blind in the first place, asking if it was due to his sin or the
sins of his parents? In part they were thinking if they can find an explanation
for his blindness, they will never need to worry about themselves or their
families becoming blind. Jesus quickly dismisses their line of thinking. But
his explanation is not very comforting: what God allows a man to be born blind so
that His works might be made known through him later.
But remember the blind man himself. At the beginning of the
story he is a nobody, a beggar, an outcast. God uses the simplest of objects,
dirt and human spit, and the result is God is manifest and a man becomes a
disciple, an image of faith and courage, who stood up against the powerful and
became an example for us all.
The hope is we too can be catalysts for God’s grace for the
Church in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, or wherever there is famine,
oppression, and suffering. Our prayer is that God may use the simple gifts we
offer and work through people on all corners of the earth and His glory may