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The Fourth Sunday of Lent

March 30, 2019

Verse before the Gospel

I am the light of the world says the Lord;
  Whoever follows me will have the light of Life.

 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 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 SentSo 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

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTION by Monsignor Joseph Marino

Because our parish has catechumens to be baptized this Easter, the three Sundays of Lent before Palm Sunday draw from the Gospel according to Saint John.  This Gospel provides a significant reflection on the growth of faith for every disciple.  Under the umbrella of divine light given to us in Baptism, we gradually see more and more clearly that Jesus Christ is truly the light of the world!  The Catechumens will be blessed indeed when in their Baptism the good Lord, the Son of Man, shepherds them from the blindness of sin to the gift of sight found in the brilliance of His light.

This Fourth Sunday of Lent focuses on the Gospel’s fifth Sign, the cure of a man blind from birth.  There is only one place in the Old Testament that records the curing of a blind person, Tobit 14: 1-2.  However, that blind person was not born blind.  Therefore, today’s event is a far superior moment in Salvation History.  And yet, Jesus’ curing is not confined to the past — we see because of Christ!

Our attention is directed from the Samaritan woman of last week to a man blind from birth by which the deeper meaning of blindness and sight is disclosed  The Church deliberately refers to those Baptized as the Enlightened Ones.  In Baptism we were gifted with faith that enlightens us so that we may see Jesus as the Lord!  At the Easter Vigil we display and acknowledge Christ as the Light of the World by gathering in darkness and joyfully lighting the Easter Candle, the symbol of the Risen Lord!

Saint John very creatively makes use of vibrant expressions to convey the deep meaning of life in Christ.  When he references time John always means more than just the hour on a clock, or a day on a calendar.  John uses the Greek word for hour, Kyros which specifies a unique and personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the Lord!  It marks the time when we begin to truly believe and embrace Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, just as the blind man did.

Last week we heard that it was noon time when Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for a drink of water.  Noon is the time of the Crucifixion – the moment of Salvation for the whole world. Today’s Gospel identifies the day as the Sabbath.  But again, for the Gospel the Sabbath is not just a Saturday on the calendar.  It is the Lord’s Day … the time that the works of God might be made visible through him. The New Sabbath is the Day of Salvation – the Lord’s Day of Eternal Light!

Jesus teaches that the blind man’s condition was not the result of his sins or his parents.  His blindness provided a time to demonstrate the Glory and Power of GodJesus gifted the blind man with physical sight, but more importantly Jesus granted him the vision of faith!  The Pharisees choose to remain blind because they refused to recognize God in Jesus.

Clearly then, we see that Faith develops over the length of one’s life time.  It is through daily encounters with Christ in His Word and Sacraments, especially the Eucharist that one’s sight grows stronger.  Like the blind man, we too need to fall on our knees and worship Jesus Christ as Lord, and proclaim: I do believe, Lord!

Prosit!

Monsignor Joseph Marino

 

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