“When [Jesus] had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on [the man's] 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” (Jn 9:6-7).
Another long Gospel reading this Sunday, but another good one! John, our Gospel writer, is doing more than just recounting a miraculous event in the life of Christ. He is teaching us. The multiple exchanges—between the Jesus and the man born blind, the man and the Pharisees, the Pharisees and the man's parents, the neighbors among themselves, and Jesus and the Pharisees—all contain lessons. But it's this use of clay that has me intrigued.
The clay is a reference to creation in the Book of Genesis, when God formed man out of the clay of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7). Jesus, using clay, recreates the man. The man is able to see. He is reborn.
We all need to have "clay" rubbed into our eyes. We all need to be reborn, and multiple times too. The question is, what is clay? Think of something very mundane or earthy in your life: going to school, driving to work, grocery shopping, checking email. That could be the ground or dirt. Invite Jesus to "spit" into that thing or experience and make clay. And then allow him to rub it into your eyes to transform you.
A couple marvels about this. First, it's awesome to know that God can and wants to use the mundane thing in your life. He doesn't bypass life, and especially the messy things of life. Second, it's awesome to know that we can be improved! Yes, that's right, we're blind right now. But let's look at it optimistically. We are blind and are about to gain our sight. Thanks be to God! Thank you Christ, the Clay Maker, for transforming us!
Last Monday evening I called together the pastoral council, the parish staff, the finance council, the school board, and the
principal search committee. I unveiled a vision for our parish. Details will be forthcoming. Suffice for right now to say we will have one purpose at Saint Juliana: Experience Jesus! Everything we do, whether it be at Mass, in the hallways of our school, or at a meeting, should help us to experience Jesus. Because when we experience Jesus, we become the best version of ourselves and experience true happiness.
Congratulations to our school for producing a fine play, The Lion King Junior! The students, both on and off the stage, performed excellently. Thank you to all the parents as well who helped with the production.
Just another friendly reminder to please consider filling out our school board application, which can be found online. Even if you are not present on the school board, you can be involved in one of the subcommittees. Your application will at least help us know you're interested.
Our Missionary Spirit Team will be meeting this Tuesday evening at 7pm in the parish center. Among other topics, they will be discussing the final plans for the Parish Retreat next Saturday, April 1st. The day will begin at 9am and we will be back on the road by 4pm. So no need to worry about missing the Final Four (party)! The retreat will include talks on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the saints, an experience of Centering Prayer, free time for prayer and quiet, and more. We will end the experience with a Sunday Vigil Mass. Please consider joining us. Hopefully it will help you enter more fully into the most sacred and solemn time of the year. And hopefully it can start the process whereby some of this dirty things in your life became the clay used by Christ to transform you!
Yours in Christ,