Gospel Reflections

4th Sunday of Lent

John 9:1-41

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Helen Bellew

Published: March 15, 2015


“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Today‘s Scripture readings are about appearance, sight, light, leading and guiding and through it all, wanting for nothing. “The Lord looks into the heart.” 1Samuel, 16:8

In communities of worship which celebrate the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the Scrutiny Rites take place on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent. Special readings are chosen for the Liturgies in which these rites are celebrated. The Catechumens, known now as the Elect, in this final time of preparation for Baptism at the Easter Vigil, are invited into a time of “self-searching” and repentance… “The Scrutinies are meant to uncover, and then heal all that is weak, defective or sinful in the hearts of the elect, to bring out, and then strengthen all that is upright, strong and good.” (RCIA #141)

The Scripture readings chosen for the Scrutinies are selected to support the Elect in their preparation for Baptism. The readings also offer the community of faithful, who accompany the Elect, the opportunity to search their own lives, to uncover obstacles to union with God, and to strengthen what is good within themselves in order to be fully committed in renewing their Baptismal promises at Easter. The readings offer all in the community a call to recognize and accept that “As God’s people, we are responsible for restoring creation to its divine intention.” USCCB, Parish Bulletin, Article 3, The Season of Lent

There are two really good stories in today’s Liturgy! Each story carries enough detail, description and suspense to make a good drama: the selection and anointing of David as King from 1 Samuel, and St. John’s story of the man born blind. Furthermore, the major players in each story misinterpret what they “see.” Samuel sees the first son presented to him by Jesse (probably the oldest and the tallest) and expects to anoint him. Fortunately, Samuel is in good communication with God. His heart is attuned and listening to the spirit of God; he perseveres until Jesse presents his youngest son, David, whom the Lord has chosen to be king.

Seeing rightly has little to do with what enters through the eye! In John’s story, those who were respected as the most learned leaders and who regarded themselves as such, “saw” as sinful the man born blind and even his parents. They “saw” Jesus also as sinful for breaking the Sabbath in order to heal the man. The Pharisees were so confident in their own righteousness and knowledge. “Surely we are not also blind are we?” They failed to “see” the true situation before them and the power of God in their midst. Their arrogance blocked God’s message and so “their sin remained.”

Each time we join the Lenten journey to Calvary and the Resurrection, we are presented with the possibility of increasing our capacity “to see rightly,” to strengthen our ability to interpret life within and around us through the lens of our Baptism, in which Christ claimed us for Himself and named us members of God’s household.

We find encouragement to follow this path in today’s passage from St. Paul: “Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” And in perhaps the most comforting psalm of all, Psalm 23, we confirm that Jesus “is my shepherd and I shall not want. Beside restful waters, He leads me… He guides me in right paths…I fear no evil, for you are at my side…” all the days of my life.

May our Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving during this Lent lead us to walk more often in the light and to see more deeply the presence of our compassionate and merciful God. In this way may we become compassion and mercy to those who pass our way.

 

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