Her Doctrine and Morals

Quinquagesima Sunday

3 March 2019


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Dear Friends,

Jesus simply and plainly informs His disciples of what is about to happen to Him as they are going up to Jerusalem. He will be handed over to the Gentiles, will be mocked and spit upon, He will be scourged and put to death, but on the third day, He will rise again. The disciples have heard Jesus speak of many things in a metaphorical manner and they are still very materially minded, so the Gospel tells us that the understanding of His words was hidden from them.

In the plan of God, He arranged for there to be along their way a blind man begging. When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by, he called out to Jesus Son of David. Though others tried to silence him, he cried out all the louder until Jesus stopped and had the blind man brought before Him. In begging for the gift of sight the blind man is acknowledging that Jesus is God, in calling out to Him as the Son of David the blind man recognizes that Jesus is Man.

The Apostles had physical sight but could not see what Jesus was telling them. The blind man lacked physical sight but saw clearly with spiritual eyes. God became Man to lead us back to God. Jesus became physical flesh in this world to lead us to spiritual life in eternity. Jesus took up our flesh to show us that this flesh must die in order for us to gain spiritual life. Jesus advanced and developed as every human — from infancy to childhood, adolescence, and maturity. In entering each different stage of His life, He left the previous one behind to advance to a higher state. Ultimately He dies in the flesh but advances in the Resurrection to eternal life. He calls us to follow Him in dying to this world. We must leave the material world behind to enter into eternal life.

Jesus is leading His disciples and us to ever higher levels of sight or understanding. He is teaching us spiritual things through the material ones. It is interesting to note that the blind man was not eager to see all the physical things that he has been missing. He did not go out in search of all the beauty and wonder that the material world offers to our sight. The scripture tells us that he followed Jesus. The material blessing of sight enabled him to advance further into the spiritual realm and to seek ever greater blessings for his soul. The material things are good, but the spiritual ones are better. This is the constant lesson that Jesus gives His disciples and us.

We begin as children very weak in spiritual qualities, yet strong and desirous of more and ever greater material things. Jesus first performs miracles that are material to draw us near to Him. He turns water into wine. He multiplies bread and fish to feed the people. He heals the blind, lame, deaf, dumb, and even raises the dead to life. Adding ever greater spiritual instruction, Jesus shows us the forgiveness of sins, the gift of Himself in Holy Communion, and finally His Resurrection and eternal Life.

We are instructed to follow Him in self-denial and in carrying our crosses. As we die to ourselves and the material world, we find ever greater life in the spiritual world. We build up spiritual treasures in Heaven at the expense of gaining more physical things. We must become humble as little children if we are to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Little children do not have a full or complete appreciation for the value of material things. We often must correct and instruct them in the necessity of saving and not wasting. They take a long while to appreciate that time and labor must be spent to obtain the material things we enjoy. They have a kind of indifference to the value of material things.

If we are to advance in the spiritual realm we must return to this state of indifference to the material things of this world. Saint Paul would have us use these things as if we used them not. Instead of focusing all our time and labor in acquiring material things, we need to spend ever-increasing amounts of time and labor to acquire spiritual things. This almost certainly necessitates that we gradually die to this world and this life as we grow or increase in our spiritual life. We lay up treasures in Heaven rather than treasures here on earth where thieves steal and moth and rust consume. Physical death then loses its sting as we are ever more longing to be eternally united with Jesus in Heaven. In the maturity of our spiritual development, we are to pray with Saint John in the Apocalypse "Come, Lord Jesus, Come!"

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