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True seeing

You, yourselves, search out what pleases the Lord, and take no part in works of darkness, that are of no benefit; expose them instead.

In today’s readings from the biblical tale when the Spirit “took hold of David,” the prophet Samuel is succinctly admonished, “God does not judge as man judges; humans see with the eyes; God sees the heart.”

What is “false seeing?” When we venture without God, to “see with our eyes” without his light, thus “‘”seeing in darkness,” we become prone to misjudgment as well as deceptions, and we fall into the errors of sin; we may even fall into the errors of misjudging those we label as “sinners.” They ask incredulously, “How can a sinner perform such miraculous signs?” This is what our Lord meant when he referred to the Pharisees, “those who see shall become blind;” or when he said to them, “But you say, ‘We see;’ this is the proof of your sin.”  “False seeing” is seeing without the benefit of Grace. It is being able to see a reality before our eyes, but not according to how God sees the same reality with his own.

“True seeing” on the other hand, is being able with his guidance to perceive the deeper underpinnings of our realities, why our present conditions are the way they are, and what questions for improvement should be asked and answered. “True seeing” is when God illuminates our souls, so that in and through his divine light, we may sense and feel what he knows; and we may know and understand what he does. We will eventually see the heart, as “God sees the heart;” consequently, we will act as he would wish us to act. 

Hence, we are called from this “false seeing in darkness” to “true seeing in light,” for it is inconceivable for anyone desiring freedom and peace to remain in errors caused by oppressive prejudices and malicious lies. We are also forewarned that such errors committed in darkness, will inevitably be revealed and accounted for by the light; in other words, we are all being held accountable. The Apostle exhorts, “You were once darkness, but, now, you are light, in the Lord. Behave as children of light; the fruits of light are kindness, justice and truth, in every form. You, yourselves, search out what pleases the Lord, and take no part in works of darkness, that are of no benefit; expose them instead. Indeed, it is a shame even to speak of what those people do in secret, but as soon as it is exposed to the light, everything becomes clear; and what is unmasked, becomes clear through light.”

So in this sense, we are all indeed born seeing, yet at first, unable to truly see. Though conceived in the inclination towards “false seeing,” God persists in lovingly offering everyone his gift of “true seeing,” but only if one sincerely desires to be so gifted. We may all be like the “man who had been blind from birth … so that God’s power might be shown in us.”  The Christ, as “the light of the world,” bestowed “true seeing” upon him, thereby “carrying out a judgment: those who do not see shall see.” But “true seeing” is a gift the fullness of value of which is realized only in those who will act as God wishes us to act. It is a blessing made sensible only through our responsible actions to share it with others, that is “if anyone honors God and does his will, God listens to him.” In the end therefore, we must all be ready to serve God.

Each follower of the light of Christ, the Spirit calls from the worldly pride of “false seeing” to the missionary zeal of “true seeing.” May we express our joy this Laetare Sunday for this holy calling; and may we commit ourselves this sacred season of Lent to it, praying for its consummation at the end of our days!

Brother Jess Matias is a professed brother of the Secular Franciscan Order. He serves as minister of the St. Pio of Pietrelcina Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Mandaluyong City, coordinator of the Padre Pio Prayer Groups of the Capuchins in the Philippines and prison counselor and catechist for the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.

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