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Lent Week 4 Sunday - Christ will give you light

Sunday, March 22, 2009
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Psalm 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5-6; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41

What does it mean to see? In today’s Gospel we hear St John’s account of how Jesus healed the man born blind. One of the interesting aspects of his account is that this amazing miracle is only the beginning of the story. It is pointing us to a deeper understanding of what it means to see.

If we were suddenly to become blind, many of the day to day tasks which we take for granted would become almost impossible. It would be very difficult to cope without having someone else to rely on, someone who could act as a guide and help us make our way through life. So we might think that sight gives us a special dignity in which we don’t have to rely on other people, that because of sight, we have independence and control over our lives. However, this understanding of sight does not sit easily with today’s psalm about the Good Shepherd. This psalm is not about independence and control, but about being led by our Lord to what is good, to what refreshes our soul. He gives us everything we need. We are given sight to recognise Christ as the shepherd who leads us. Our dignity lies in being able to see who Christ is and being able to follow him under own free will, a will that is transformed by the light of grace.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians takes up this theme of light. He rather uncompromisingly says ‘Live as children of light … Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness’. This is a difficult message to preach in the world today. We are always being asked to make comprises, to choose between the lesser of two evils, and sometimes we may even find ourselves confusing sin with virtue. But these difficult situations, in which every course of action seems wrong, can be a moment for conversion, the possibility of making a fundamental shift in the way we see the world and ourselves. This is something we can only truly do with the grace we receive through Jesus Christ. So today on this Laetare Sunday, let us rejoice, because as St Paul say, ‘Christ will give you light’.

This reflection is on the alternative, Year A, readings for Laetare Sunday. For a reflection on the Year B readings see here and here.

Robert Verrill OP

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