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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Fourth Sunday of Lent (A)
1st Reading (1Sam 16:1b.6-7.10-13a): The Lord said to Samuel: «Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons». As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice, Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, «Surely the Lord’s anointed is here before him». But the Lord said to Samuel: «Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart». In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, «The Lord has not chosen any one of these».

Then Samuel asked Jesse, «Are these all the sons you have?». Jesse replied, «There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep». Samuel said to Jesse, «Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here». Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The Lord said, Thereanoint him, for this is the one!». Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed David in the presence of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David.
Responsorial Psalm: 22
R/. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.

He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side. With your rod and your staff that give me courage.

You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.
2nd Reading (Eph 5,8-14): Brothers and sisters: You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. 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. Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: «Awake, o sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light».
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 8:12): I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.
Gospel text (Jn 9:1-41): As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, "Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" —which means Sent—. So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?" Some said, "It is," but others said, "No, he just looks like him." He said, "I am." So they said to him, "How were your eyes opened?" He replied, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' So I went there and washed and was able to see." And they said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know."

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a Sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see." So some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath." But others said, "How can a sinful man do such signs?" And there was a division among them. So they said to the blind man again, "What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet."

Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. They asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?" His parents answered and said, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for himself." His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue. For this reason his parents said, "He is of age; question him."

So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, "Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner." He replied, "If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see." So they said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered them, "I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?" They ridiculed him and said, "You are that man's disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from." The man answered and said to them, "This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything." They answered and said to him, "You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?" Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" He answered and said, "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he." He said, "I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind."

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not also blind, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains.

“Go wash”

Fr. Joan Ant. MATEO i García (Tremp, Lleida, Spain)

Today, in the Fourth Sunday of Lent —also called rose or “laetare” (rejoice) Sunday— the entire liturgy invites us to experience a deep joy, a great exultation, because Easter is getting nearer.

Jesus was a factor of great joy for that man who had been blind from birth, and who received his eyesight from Him along with the gift of his spiritual light. The blind believed and he received Christ's light. On the other hand, those Pharisees, so engulfed in their own wisdom and light, remained blinded because of their heart hardness and their sins. In fact, “the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight” (Jn 9:18).

How essential it is Christ's light to see reality in its right true dimension! Without the light of faith we would be almost blind. We have been bestowed with Christ's light and we need our life to go on being enlightened by this light. Even more so, this light must flare in the sanctity of life so that it may appeal to those who are still unaware of it. All this means conversion and personal growth in charity, especially in this time of Lent and in this final stage. Saint Leo the Great exhorts us: “Although, it is always good to exercise ourselves in the virtue of Charity, these days of Lent invite us to, in a more urgent manner.”

One unique thing can move us away from the light and joy Jesus Christ gives us, and this is sin; trying to live far from Lord's light. Unfortunately, many —at times, even ourselves— go deeply into this dark and gloomy road until losing the light and peace. Out of his own experience, Saint Augustine claimed that there is nothing unhappier than the happiness of those who sin.

Easter is getting near and the Lord wants to communicate to us all the joy of Resurrection. Let us prepare ourselves to receive and celebrate it. “Go wash” (Jn 9:7), Jesus tells us... To wash in the purifying waters of the Sacrament of Penance! We shall find again the light and the joy and we shall accomplish our best preparation for Easter.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “Therefore receive the likeness of God, which you lost through evil deeds.” (Saint Augustine)

  • “Because of Adam’s sin we too are born “blind”. Sin wounded humanity and destined it to the darkness of death, but the newness of life shines out in Christ, as well as the destination to which we are called.” (Benedict XVI)

  • “Often Jesus asks the sick to believe. He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands, mud and washing. The sick try to touch him, ‘for power came forth from him and healed them all’ (Lk 6:19) and so in the sacraments Christ continues to "touch" us in order to heal us.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 1504)