Jesus Bringing us to Wholeness
Mar 5, 2018
We have several catechumens who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil and because of that we shift from the ordinary readings of the Sundays of Lent to what we experts would call the “Year A” readings. There are three Gospel readings that the Church deems extremely important for the catechumens to hear as they rapidly approach their entry into the Church. The first involves Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman at the well; the second is Jesus healing the man born blind; and the last is the raising of Lazarus from the dead.
In each of these stories Jesus exposes himself to uncleanness even as He leads each person to being cleansed. To talk with a Samaritan is wrong, but it is even worse that it is a woman. On top of that Jesus knows something that we do not: she has been married several times and the man she is living with presently she is not married to. In other words, she is certainly not in a “state of grace” in which she should be able to encounter the Divine. Yet Jesus approaches her and speaks with her and finally frees her for a new life in Christ. He risks becoming “unclean” in order to make the woman whole and clean.
The apostles question Jesus about the man born blind: “Was it his parent’s sin or his sin that made him this way”? His answer is to touch the blind man’s eyes and rub mud in them and tell him to wash his eyes in the pool of Siloam. To touch a sinner is to risk having that sin rub off on you. Yet Jesus makes the approach; the man himself could not see Jesus, therefore he could not ask for the healing and extends the grace of healing to make the man whole.
In Jesus’ day every Jew knew that the dead were unclean and if you touched a dead person or a tomb you would become unclean also. Even if you unwittingly touched a tomb you were unclean; yet Jesus risks that uncleanness as he orders the tomb of Lazarus opened and he awakens him from his death.
Jesus risks moral impurity and its consequences as he approaches these different individuals to bring them healing and wholeness. This is a strong message that the Church wants her catechumens to hear before Jesus reaches out to them to give them healing and wholeness. He will risk everything for all of us so that we may become one in Him.