Scripture reflections for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Year A), 26 March 2017.
First reading: Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 22
Second reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41
The readings of Laetare Sunday invite us to rejoice as we consider the gifts that God desires to give, so that nothing may stand in the way of our relationship with him. As I come respectfully into God’s presence, I try to bring to mind whatever obstacles may have blocked me from relationship with Christ this week. I also thank God for any moments of deep faith and consolation as I prepare myself for receiving his Word.
The author of Samuel, in the First Reading, reminds us that God always provides for the welfare of his people. But, in choosing David, the last in line for a position of authority, God shows that he judges by standards that are not of this world.
In the Psalm we see this same David pondering the anxieties that often accompany a call from God. Reflection upon his own life leads to his response of trust in the Shepherd who is always faithful and gives whatever is truly needed for walking the right path.
The Second Reading shows how, as disciples, we live in the light of grace given in Christ Jesus. This gives us strength to uphold truth and justice regardless of the standards of the society at large.
In the Gospel we see an unnamed and overlooked blind man receiving help from Jesus. The man is moved to faith by his healing and remains faithful to his belief in Jesus, his Lord. Like the sheep, the blind man hears Jesus' voice. Like the shepherd, Jesus finds the blind man when he has been cast out.
Slowly I settle down to pray. Perhaps I light a candle, representing Christ the light of the world and the light of my life. I read and ponder the readings slowly. I let the words flicker and dance in my heart like a candle in a dark room. Then, in the company of my loving Lord, I ponder and reflect upon my life. I may become aware of some anxieties or fears. I might be able to discern some obstacles (‘futile works’) that prevent a deep relationship with the Lord. Perhaps I could try to express my sorrow for those things that cause me to feel shame. But I remember, always, that I am a loved sinner, a forgiven child. I consider everything from the vantage point of the Resurrection, Christ’s victory over sin.
I now reflect upon the effects of the light of Christ in my own life. How am I called to ‘right living’ or faithfulness to the ‘truth’ in my place of work or my family life?
In what ways do I trust the Good Shepherd of today’s psalm who promises to walk alongside me always, especially in those dark places?
I spend time with the Lord, in this place of quiet repose, asking him to show me what he wants of me.
Here Jesus gives the blind man his sight; but only after abuse and rejection does the man fully realise who Jesus is. The blind man could be me as I try to develop a greater faith and trust in Jesus, my Light, in the events and sometimes struggles of my daily life. I try to enter into this dramatic story: which character do I focus on? What do I hear? Do I become one of them?
Does my darkness need to be 'washed' away: fear, prejudice, anger? Can I let Jesus touch me? I speak to him from my heart.
View next week's reflections here.
Reflections from www.pathwaystogod.org from the Jesuits in Britain.