Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 22
May Our Lord Cast Away Our Blindness and May Each of Us Forever Walk in His Eternal Light with Humility and Faith.
“Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.” – words which we find in our First Reading today, words which become the theme for today, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, or what is also called Laetare Sunday.
Today, many of God’s faithful children throughout the world are not able to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass due to the restraints placed upon us by both the secular authorities and ecclesial authority within the Church. And many are saddened that we do not have access to the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, a decision which I am sure has also deeply saddened our Lord.
In the midst of this sadness, however, may we not despair, for it is times like these that our Lord is truly closest to those whose hearts are filled with an uncompromising love for our Lord and His Most Holy Church.
It is at times like these that we are called not to sit in judgment of others but to remain humble and faithful to the words our Lord once gave us, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Yet, we are reminded today of the words which we find in the First Book of Samuel, “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”
And what does God see in our heart? Is it a heart filled with fear because of the contagion of the Chinese Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Is it a heart filled with anger, dismay and betrayal because it appears that the Church is not feeding the Body of Christ, that the Shepherds have abandoned their sheep?
Such feelings are only too human! But our Lord asks us to lean upon Him, to trust in Him, just as we pray the mantra of Divine Mercy, “Jesus, I trust in You”. Our Lord is Omnipotent, All-powerful, and He is in control of all that is we are currently facing in life.
When we judge others by appearances, as Samuel did in our First Reading, we judge in darkness, for the Light of God is not within us, for it is only God who can illumine what is in the heart and soul. And in His Light there is no deception; there is nothing that can be hidden from the discerning eye and the mind of God.
And Paul reminds us in his Letter to the Ephesians, “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.”
For it is in the darkness that the works of Satan thrive and live. It is in the darkness where sin reigns and souls are lost. And it was in this darkness where the Pharisees in today’s Gospel lived and judged.
In their own spiritual blindness, they could not see the Eternal Light that was Jesus; they could only judge by appearances – in that this Jesus of Nazareth made some clay and healed on the Sabbath, and some of them declared “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.”
And when the blind man who was cured tried to expose the unreasonableness of their own thinking, in their arrogance, they responded, “‘You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?’ Then they threw him out.”
In last Sunday’s Gospel, we read about the encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. And in the course of their discussion, our Lord awakened within her soul the awareness of the Eternal Light which stood before her, an awareness which exposed the darkness of the life she had been living for many years with different men. And in the Light which now enveloped her, she could not help but run to her neighbors in the village and announce that she had met the Messiah!
So it was with the blind man who was cured and now stood before the Pharisees. Answering their inquiries, he began to speak as one in the Light, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes…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.”
For as Paul says to us in our Second Reading, “…everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.”
However, the choice is ours – to embrace the Light or reject it, to become a disciple of the Light or its adversary, to live a life filled with an enduring faith, but also embracing the virtues of humility and meekness about matters over which we have no control.
Sadly, the Pharisees in today’s Gospel represent those today who choose to embrace the darkness, who choose to discriminate and be judgmental without any sense of Christian love.
They have set themselves up against the Eternal Light, for they see only in darkness, and their sight is one of blindness, for they do not see as God sees. They judge by appearance and not by the heart and soul, and they forget that judgment belongs to God alone!
Jesus asks each and every one of us today the same question He asked the man cured of his blindness so long ago, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man asked, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?”
The Eternal Light, the Incarnate Wisdom, in His infinite and unfathomable Love, replied, “You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he.”
And Jesus is truly speaking to each and every one of us, for He truly is the Light of the world who came to dispel our darkness, who came to teach us of God’s Love, who came to fill our hearts with a never-ending hope! He came to strengthen us in the midst of all the evils which surround us on a daily basis in our continuing journey through this life!
May our Lord cast away our blindness; may He pardon our sinfulness. And may each of us, in our own individual walks of faith, respond to our Savior each and every moment of our lives here on Earth with the words we hear in today’s Gospel, “I do believe Lord.”
In our belief, may you and I rejoice as we walk in His Eternal Light, both today and forever!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “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.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)
- “For 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.” (Ephesians 5:8-11a)
- “…everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.” (Ephesians 5:13-14a)
- “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.” (John 9:4-5)
- “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.’” (John 9:39)
- “You, LORD, give light to my lamp; my God brightens the darkness about me.” (Psalm 18:29)
- “Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just. Well for the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice.” (Psalm 112:4-5)
- “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
- “When I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.” (Micah 7:8c)
- “If your whole body is full of light, and no part of it is in darkness, then it will be as full of light as a lamp illuminating you with its brightness.” (Luke 11:36)
- “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
- “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12bcd)
Prayer for the Day
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,Lyrics to Amazing Grace
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
“T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear,
and Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear,
the hour I first believed.
“Through many dangers, toils and snares,
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far,
and Grace will lead us home.
“The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
as long as life endures.
“Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
a life of joy and peace…
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.”