The Sunday TV Mass is produced and broadcast weekly by the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls. The goal is to bring the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy to those who are homebound or shut in and unable to join their local community for Mass. The Mass is broadcast all across South Dakota on the local CBS affiliate and many thousands participate each week. The Mass is recorded at the Cathedral of St Joseph, and can also be viewed on this web site each Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday’s at 10:00am CT – 9:00am MT – KELOLAND TV
Watch this weeks Sunday TV Mass OnLine
This Week’s Homily from Bishop Paul J. Swain
This Fourth Sunday in Lent is called Laetare or Rejoice Sunday. We do not rejoice simply because Lent is more than half over, we rejoice because the new life of Easter is closer, the light of Christ brighter which can guide our way in perilous times.
Our readings center on the concept of being able to see, to overcome the darkness of this world, to set aside the blind spots and to see more clearly because the light of Christ shines in our lives. “Not as man sees does God see,” the Lord tells the prophet in the first reading, “because man sees the appearance but God looks into the heart.” Sometimes appearances can be really off base.
Father Dominic Grassi, a Chicago priest, wrote that he often pondered where his vocation to the priesthood came from. He grew up in a large Italian family. In their homes were pictures of all members of the family. A young niece pointed to a picture of him and said to some friends, “That’s my uncle Dominic. He’s the ugly one so he had to become a priest.” To make matters worse, his mother having overheard the conversation called the little girl aside and said, “Honey, you can’t talk about your uncle that way, even if it’s true, he’s still my son.” Man sees the appearance, God sees into the heart. From there comes all our vocations.
Our gospel reading from John tells the story of the man born blind who was miraculously given the ability to see by Jesus and as a result of his encounter with Jesus was able to see spiritually as well. It is a story of conversion.
The conversion of the man born blind occurred in stages. He began in his own little world, a beggar in the dark. Then Jesus changed his life. “How were your eyes opened,” he was asked. “The man they call Jesus did it,” he responded. First to him Jesus was a man. Many have viewed Jesus as simply a man, a good person, a great leader, a gifted teacher, but just a human being. Think for a minute about Jesus as simply a man. If that were all he was, which it is not, we still must be in awe of him. He was patient, compassionate, merciful and selfless, a man of authority and authenticity. If more of us lived our lives with those virtues, how much better the world would be. But we do not; we have blind spots that keep us from seeing the dignity of all persons.
“What do you have to say about him since he opened your eyes?” he was asked. “He is a prophet,” was the reply. Jesus now was more than simply a man; he was a prophet, a messenger from God who pointed to God’s presence and God’s mercy.
A man told this true story. His mother had a deep devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower. The saint promised that after her death she would continue to do good on earth from heaven and that she would send a shower of roses to those who asked for her help. During World War II the mother’s husband was reported missing in action, a likely causality of an amphibious landing in the Pacific. The mother and wife gathered the family together and began a novena to St. Therese. The next day the doorbell rang and there was a neighbor with a dozen long stemmed red roses. He had not heard that the father was missing in action. He just thought that the family would enjoy the encouragement of the fresh flowers. Was this a coincidence? The mother did not think so. She saw them as a sign of God’s presence and God’s love expressed through the kind gesture of a neighbor serving as God’s messenger. We are all called to be God’s messengers to our brother and sisters, especially those struggling.
Jesus asked the man born blind, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir that I may believe in him.” “. . . The One speaking to you is he.” Jesus replied, “I do believe, Lord,” was the response and he immediately worshipped him. This is a conversion journey, from lonely darkness to encountering a man, then a prophet, and then the Lord, to whom the natural response was to bow down in humble worship.
A boy was required to attend Mass every week while his father’s attendance was spotty. He asked his father, “Dad, is it true that when you were a boy you went to Church every Sunday?” “Yes, son,” his dad proudly replied, “I had perfect attendance.” The boy thought for a while and said, surely seeking an excuse, “I’ll bet my going every Sunday won’t do me any good either.” As someone said, “children often follow the footprints their parents thought they had covered up”.
We ought to come to church each Sunday not because he have to but because we need to, because we want to worship our Lord who died and rose for us The television Mass is one way to do so for those who cannot do so physically. If worshipping God becomes inconvenient or secondary, our vision is impaired and like the blind man we need to seek the healing that Christ offers to help us see clearly right from wrong, good from evil, selfishness from the common good..
As we continue our Lenten journey these next three weeks, may we rejoice in our discovery of Christ as more that a man or a prophet but our Lord and our savior. May we be grateful that God does not see as man sees, for man sees the appearance but God looks into the heart. Our Lenten reflection this week might be, especially as we face the crosses in our lives, are we comfortable with what God will see in our hearts? If not, may we pray to the Lord: I want to see.