Very Rev. Mark Payne
St. Vernonica

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

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

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 ask 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 sign?" and there was a division among them.

So they said to the blind man, "What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." 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 has thrown him out, he found him and said, "Do 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 worshipped him."

The Gospel of the Lord.

As we gather today I want you to think just for a moment, there is Jesse with all of his sons, and you know there is Samuel, and he is going to anoint him king. And he put out all of his sons except for one, youngest one, he was out tending the flock. And you know, what's really significant about that reading is I want you to hear the Lord does not judge by sight.

Oh, I’m sure Jesse probably thought, oh I’ve got all the best, the brightest, all of the wonderful sons right here except he didn't give David, the youngest one enough credit; too young, probably too inexperienced.

Have we been judged by our color, by who we are, by what we wear? Sometimes, when I walk into a place with this roman collar on, that doesn't always feel welcome. You know, no matter where we are, sometimes we can be judged and we can judge. But I want you to hear now moving from that, into this Gospel, there is the blind man, and he is on the road, and how many people just come day in and day out passing him by, but now he has this wonderful experience. Jesus doesn't pass him by, this lowly beggar, day in, day out, hoping to get maybe a scrap here or some money here or there, instead Jesus stops right there and he heals him. Bringing him light, bringing some newness into his life.

Folks I don't know about you, but sometimes we can go about our busy day passing people in the halls or passing people that we know even at our workplaces and not even say anything. You know the other day, I was at Pick n' Save, and I noticed that Eric was just running all of my groceries through the scanner and all of a sudden I looked up and I said, "Good morning Eric" I called him by name. He was shocked! All of a sudden, there was a difference about Eric, he engaged me in conversation.

Do we allow these moments to pass by? Which we could bring light, recognition? That maybe someone who feels out of touch or maybe alone or separated? You know, that's what Jesus did to this blind man that's what Jesus does to each and every one of us whether we're in a hospital bed or whether we're doing our daily tasks we may feel like that blind beggar along the road, overlooked and very sad I’m inviting all of us to hear that second reading.

You are light! Let your light shine! Make a difference! You know, they wear those name tags, call the person by their name. See the reaction of making a difference in someone's life. Don't just walk by, but bring light like Jesus did to the individuals. Whether we're in the hospital and we're meeting nurses and doctors, whether we're here or there in our workplace. We can make a difference. Let no one be in darkness, but let them be light and let us be light. Amen.

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