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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Looby

Fifth Sunday of Lent 2024

"Open your eyes sisters...these are the people we came to see!"

"Sir, we want to see Jesus!" 

This request from the Greeks to Philip, as we hear in today's Gospel, is a profound declaration of our desire to encounter the Divine, to find in Jesus the answer to our longing for meaning, purpose, and salvation. 

Yet, this longing to see Jesus is not merely about a spiritual vision; it's about recognizing Him in the concrete realities of our world, in the faces of our brothers and sisters, especially those who suffer.

Let me share with you a powerful example from the life of St. Frances Cabrini, a woman who embodied this desire to see Jesus in everyone she met. 

In the new movie "Cabrini," which portrays her missionary work, there's a moment when Mother Cabrini and her fellow nuns arrive in the United States and are confronted with the dire poverty of the Five Points neighborhood in New York City. 

It's a place of squalor, a place that society had forgotten. Yet, upon seeing this, Cabrini says to the other nuns, "Open your eyes, sisters! These are the people we came to see!"

St. Frances Cabrini understood that to see Jesus, we must open our eyes to the reality of suffering and need around us. Her words remind us that our call to follow Jesus is a call to see Him in the least of our brothers and sisters. 

It's easy to profess a desire to see Jesus, to seek Him in prayer and scripture, but St. Frances challenges us to a more difficult, more radical discipleship. 

She invites us to see Jesus in the faces of those living in conditions we would rather ignore, in the lives of the poor, the sick, the immigrant, and the orphan.

As we reflect on the Gospel today, where Jesus talks about the grain of wheat that must die to produce much fruit, we're reminded of the sacrifice this seeing entails. 

It's not a passive act but an active engagement with the world that often requires us to step out of our comfort zones, to die to our own prejudices, fears, and indifference. 

Like Mother Cabrini, we are called to open our eyes and hearts to the suffering around us, recognizing that in serving those in need, we serve Christ Himself.

"Sir, we want to see Jesus!" 

Let this be our prayer, but let us be ready for the answer that might come in ways we don't expect. To see Jesus, we must be willing to look into the places of pain and need, to open our eyes as St. Frances Cabrini did, and say, "These are the people we came to see!" 

This Lent, let us ask for the grace to see Jesus in every person we meet, to serve Him in them, and to love as He loves.

In this way, our journey through Lent becomes a journey of transformation, not just for ourselves, but for the world. 

As we seek to see Jesus, let us also make Him visible through our actions, our compassion, and our service to those most in need. 

May St. Frances Cabrini, who saw Jesus in every soul she encountered, inspire us to do the same, to open our eyes and truly see.


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Anne Peterson
Anne Peterson
Mar 18

Amen. Lord open my eyes so I may see as you see

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