The Second Scrutiny

(March 22, 2020)

I offer this homily (and take off my hat) to any brothers who are celebrating Mass or live streaming during this crisis

Bottom line: We rejoice with the candidates who receive the exorcism prayer asking for sight: Not to see through other people, but to see them. Above all to see Jesus:

Today we have the second scrutiny - an exorcism prayer based on Jesus healing the blind man. It begins this way:

"As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth."

The man represents humanity born with original sin, a curious kind of blindness. We easily see other people's defects, their blind spots, but we have difficulty recognizing our own blindness. We need Jesus radical healing. He does it in a way that might cause to recoil:

"he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes"

The ancients believed that saliva had healing power. Indeed, scientists today know saliva has antibacterial agents, but that's not the point. According to Augustine, the combination of saliva and earth represents Jesus joining humanity with divinity.

Some cannot see it or even imagine it. Jesus' healing upsets the Pharisees. Although they have physical sight, they are spiritually blind. They know everything, but they cannot see what is right in front of their eyes. They have put Jesus in a box. They think he's a "sinner" - someone they can write off. The man born blind gives a simple response:

"If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see"

When Jesus directly confronts the man born blind, he says, "'I do believe, Lord,' and he worshiped him."

In honor of that man it's appropriate that today we wear rose - the color of rejoicing. We rejoice with the candidates who receive the exorcism prayer asking for sight: Not to see through other people, but to see them. Above all to see Jesus:

"Lord Jesus,
you are the true light that enlightens the world.
Through your Spirit of truth
free those who are enslaved by the father of lies.
Stir up the desire for good in these elect,
whom you have chosen for your sacraments.
Let them rejoice in your light,
that they may see,
and, like the man born blind
whose sight you restored,
let them prove to be staunch and fearless witnesses
to the faith,
for you are Lord for ever and ever. " Amen.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Year A homilies for Fourth Sunday of Lent):

Best Lent Ever Week 3: A Good Listener (2017)
Prayer and Spiritual Combat Week 4 (2014)
Sight (2011)
Small Gesture with Enormous Promise (2008)
Seeing and Knowing (2005)
Men Who Went Blind (2002)
Fatal Blindness (1999)

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru