The Fourth Sunday in Lent

A reflection”

Readings: 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13;Psalm 23:1-6;Ephesians 5:8-14;John 9:1-41

Today the Church celebrates the second Scrutiny for those who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil. We pray that the Elect  will be able to see the light of Christ in a dark and hostile world. In Baptism they will die and rise in Christ. Like David the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon them. Confirmation will give them the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to strengthen them as they strive to be holy. Nourished by the Word of God in the Eucharist they will be sent, like Samuel in the first reading, into the world to bring the light of Christ to everyone that they meet.

Samuel was chosen by God to be a prophet. He heard God’s voice. Samuel was very close to God. Yet even Samuel had difficulty discerning who God was calling to be anointed as the new king of Israel.  God does not choose the eldest of Jesse’s eight sons’. Instead he chose the youngest, David, who is a shepherd. God’s ways are mysterious; He does not see as we see.  God sees by shining His light into our hearts to reveal who we really are.

In the psalm we are comforted by God who promises to lead the baptized through the darkness of sin into the light of Christ. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul, reminds the new Christians that by their baptism they have become children of God. They are called to live the rest of their earthly lives as “children of Light” and to reject sin.

The blind man is healed only after washing in the pool of Siloam which means the One Sent. Jesus is the one sent and the one who miraculously restored the man’s sight.

Pope Benedict tells us that “Jesus is the one through whom and in whom the blind man is cleansed so that he can gain his sight. The whole chapter turns out to be an interpretation of baptism, which enables us to see. Christ is the giver of light, and he opens our eyes through the mediation of the sacrament” (“Jesus of Nazareth,” Vol. 1).

The man whose eyes are now opened  by the light of the world, is rejected by his neighbors. But now that he can see, he experiences the beginnings of faith in the one that is sent.

As the blind man learned, following Christ is not easy. We live in a world darkened by sin. There will always be those who will refuse to see the light of Christ. Discipleship has a cost.  Christians who strive to be holy and live in the light of Christ face ridicule, rejection, and sometimes persecution.  It takes diligence, prayer, studying scripture, and participating in the Eucharist.

Jesus shines his light into our hearts to give us the strength to persevere until we receive our crowns of glory in God’s kingdom..

FATHER/DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH: ST. AMBROSE, BISHOP, (339-397

In one instant we see both the power of his divinity and the strength of his holiness. As the divine light, he touched this man and enlightened him; as priest, by an action symbolizing baptism he wrought in him his work of redemption. The only reason for his mixing clay with the spittle and smearing it on the eyes of the blind man was to remind you that he who restored the man to health by anointing his eyes with clay is the very one who fashioned the first man out of clay, and that this clay that is our flesh can receive the light of eternal life through the sacrament of baptism. You, too, should come to Siloam, that is, to him who was sent by the Father (as he says in the gospel. My teaching is not my own, it comes from him who sent me). Let Christ wash you and you will then see.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry was ordained in 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren.. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
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