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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Looby

4th Sunday of Lent A 2023



Are you a “hot mess”? Do you know someone who is a “hot mess”?


We use the term “hot mess” to describe someone or something that is disorganized, chaotic, or in a state of confusion. It is a term that we often use to describe our own lives, especially when we are facing difficulties or struggles.


But today's gospel reading, from St. John reminds us that even in our "hot mess" moments, God can bring about healing and transformation.


In the gospel story, we see that Jesus used a messy substance, mud, to heal a man who was born blind. This mud was not only messy and unclean, but it was also associated with sin and impurity in Jewish culture. Yet, Jesus used this "hot mess" to bring about healing and wholeness to the blind man.


Our lives can often feel messy and unclean, too. We may feel overwhelmed by job stress, family or relationship problems, addiction and sin and struggle to find a way out. We may feel like a "hot mess" that is beyond repair.


But like the mud that Jesus used to heal the blind man, God can take our messiness and turn it into something beautiful. He can take our brokenness and use it for his glory.


Like he did for St. Paul! At the end of the second reading today from his Letter to the Ephesians he writes:


"Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will give you light."


Beautiful isn’t it? But, long before he wrote those words He was a hot mess himself before he met Jesus.


He persecuted Christians and according to the account in Acts of the Apostles , Paul (then known as Saul) was traveling on the road to Damascus to arrest and persecute more Christians when suddenly he’s blinded by a bright light from heaven. He was thrown from his horse and he heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"


After this encounter, Saul was led into Damascus and stayed there for three days with nothing to eat or drink and blind.


Then, on the third day, a man named Ananias came to him and laid his hands on him, saying, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."


Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he was able to see again.


This moment of physical healing was also a moment of spiritual healing and conversion. He had been blinded by his own pride and zeal for persecuting Christians, but through his encounter with Christ and his subsequent healing, he was able to see the truth of God's love and grace.


He was no longer a hot mess. His old self died and became through the grace of God a new person. So he was speaking from his own experience when he wrote:


"Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will give you light."


We, too, can experience a powerful conversion that can transform our hot, messy lives into new creations in Christ.


Are YOU a hot mess?


Turn to God and rejoice in the hope and healing that we have in Christ, who can take even the messiest parts of our lives and turn them into something beautiful.


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