Seeing Jesus through the eyes of faith

| Deacon Timothy Gapinski | May 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

Senior African man with folded hands - focus on the weathered handsAt two different points in this week’s Gospel passage, Jesus makes a distinction between the way the world sees and the way his disciples see. He says that in a little while, the world will not see him, nor will it be able to see the Spirit of truth whom he sends. But he assures the apostles that they will see him, and that they will see and know the Spirit. What makes this possible? How can we see spiritual things using only our physical eyes?

Jesus says that we will see him “because I live and you will live.” He is talking about his divine life and our participation in that life with him by grace. Thanks to this participation in the divine life, our souls are perfected and given the virtues and gifts needed to live a supernatural life. By grace we are given the theological virtue of faith.

It is this virtue of faith that gives us evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Faith enables us to “see” what otherwise could not be seen. Jesus is no longer physically present on Earth, but he promises to always be spiritually present to us. Though we cannot see his spiritual presence with the eyes of the body, we see him with the eyes of faith. When we gaze upon the Eucharist, our physical eyes can only see the appearance of bread and wine, but our eyes of faith perceive Jesus Christ truly present.

However, just as our physical eyes can suffer from defects and cause us to be nearsighted or color blind, so, too, can our spiritual eyes be weak or defective. People with optical defects see the world differently, and it affects the way they act in the world. A person who is red-green colorblind might have difficulty knowing whether the traffic light is indicating they should stop or go. If they act in a way contrary to what is true, there will likely be repercussions.

In the same way, people with defects in their spiritual vision are more likely to act contrary to what is true. A spiritual nearsightedness might mean that the person has a hard time seeing God, but focusing on the self is easy. This person is then more likely to choose the lesser good of self over the greater good of God.

Fortunately, just as most deficiencies in our physical sight can be corrected, so, too, can our spiritual sight be improved. We hear Jesus telling his disciples to keep his commandments, and that the one who does so is the one to whom he will reveal himself. Jesus is promising us that if we always act in accord with true faith, we will “see” him present with us by faith. Faith and action are interconnected. Acting against the commandments, on the other hand, separates us from the faith and leaves us unable to clearly see Jesus in our lives.

So, follow his commands — love God and one another, celebrate the Eucharist in memory of him — and your eyes of faith will be strengthened to see Jesus present in all that you do and in everyone you meet.

Deacon Gapinski is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of St. Cloud. His teaching parish is Our Lady of Lourdes in Little Falls. His home parish is Sts. Peter and Paul in Gilman.


Readings

Sunday, May 25
Sixth Sunday of Easter

  • Acts 8:5-8, 14-17
  • 1 Peter 3:15-18
  • John 14:15-21

Reflection

How can we improve our spiritual sight so as to see Christ in our lives?

 

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Category: Sunday Scriptures