March 22, 2020 — Fourth Sunday of Lent
1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A; PS 23:1-6; EPH 5:8-14; JN 9:1-41 or JN 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
Today’s readings on this fourth Sunday of Lent are filled with contrasting images — God’s vision versus human vision, the light of Christ versus the darkness of sin, spiritual blindness versus spiritual sightedness. Embracing a stewardship way of life can free us from spiritual blindness, allow us to see as God sees and help us to reflect the light of Christ’s love in the way we live our daily lives.
The first reading, from the First Book of Samuel, recounts God’s choice of a king for his people from among the sons of Jesse. Surprisingly, it was not the oldest or the strongest of the seven brothers that God chose to lead his people. It was the youngest, the least likely candidate by the world’s standards, that God chose — “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” Our Heavenly Father is not impressed by our job title or athletic achievements or the number of Twitter followers we have. He is pleased by the condition of our hearts when they are conformed to Christ and by the way we use the time and gifts He has given us to serve others.
Our Second Reading, from Ephesians, gives a further reminder of the aspect of our identity that truly matters to God and encourages us to live in a way that reflects this. “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Because of our Baptism, we have the “light” of the Blessed Trinity dwelling within us. In the difficulties and messiness of daily life, it’s easy to forget this glorious truth about ourselves. It can also be difficult to determine whether we truly are living in a way that reflects Christ’s light. The stewardship way of life, with its emphasis on the rightly ordered use of the gifts of time, talent and treasure, gives us a guide we can consult on a daily basis to help ensure that we really are living as “children of the light.”
In our Gospel passage from John, Christ says of Himself, “I am the light of the world.” This passage recounts a miracle our Lord performs, restoring sight to a man born blind. The man responds to the Pharisees who question him about his healing by declaring to them that Jesus “opened my eyes.” These Lenten days are an excellent time for us to ask Jesus to open our eyes, too. Let us ask Him to show us where we may be suffering from spiritual blindness, perhaps even in subtle ways.
Are we truly reflecting His light in our use of time by giving first priority to our prayer lives, regularly attending Mass and Confession, giving our full and consistent attention to our loved ones?
Are we reflecting His light in the sharing of our talents by supporting the ministries in this parish, by community involvement, by being good neighbors to those near us who may be in need?
Are we reflecting His light by sharing our material blessings in a committed and intentional way as an act of gratitude to the God Who has given us all that we have?
As we continue on our Lenten journey, let’s intensify our efforts in any of these areas where we have become a little blinded so that by Easter, we are truly living as children of the light.