HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A.
THEME: New Sight through Following the Light.
BY: Fr. Luke Ijezie.
Resp. Psalm 23:1-6
The fourth Sunday of Lent is traditionally regarded as a Laetare Sunday, which means a “joyful Sunday”. It is a special joy in the sober atmosphere of the Lenten period. The joy emerges from a new thing that God does in the life of His people. In the Gospel of today, this new thing is the new sight that God brings about in a situation of total blindness.
1. The Gospel text, taken from John 9:1-41, is a rather long but fascinating passage. The story, which is about the healing of the man born, is a favourite one for biblical interpreters as it opens up many significant issues about the ministry of Jesus. The story begins with the restoration of the man’s physical sight through a rather complex ritual: Jesus spat on the ground, mixed clay with his saliva, smeared the clay on the man’s eyes and made him to wash in the Pool of Siloam.
But why does Jesus adopt this elaborate ritual instead of curing the blindness with a simple word as usual? Scholars see the making of the paste with saliva as recalling the creation of man (Adam) with clay in Gen 2:7. So, from this light, the whole miracle is a new creation. It is in the man born blind that God’s new creative work is being revealed. The whole story is about the revelation of this new work of creation. In the development of the story, the man moves gradually from physical sight to spiritual sight, as Jesus reveals his identity to him. Jesus, in the context, distinguishes between physical blindness and spiritual blindness. Since he himself is the light, all who do not walk with him are blind, even when they think they see. For Jesus, refusal to walk with him is decision to remain in blindness and darkness, and that is sin. Sin is refusal to follow the light.
2. We find this in the second reading of today from Eph 5:8-14, as Paul admonishes the Ephesians: “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” (5:8-9). He urges all to follow Christ who is the light and only hope of authentic life.
3. In the responsorial psalm from Psalm 23, all who follow the Divine Shepherd find refreshment, security and abundant life. To find true life, one must follow God as Shepherd and His human agents, just as is narrated in the first reading from 1Sam 16 where David is chosen as the anointed one to shepherd God’s people. David’s shepherding role over God’s people has now been taken over by Jesus. All who follow him find true life.
4. The presence of Jesus in the life of every person brings about a new life, a passage from darkness to light, a joy indescribable. As long as we refuse to follow Jesus and his teaching, we continue to grope in darkness with all its attendant evils: emptiness, injustice, mutual hate, conflict, rancour, violence, death. Sometimes we pretend to see but our actions betray us as still remaining in the dark and in blindness.
We pray that our lives as individuals and community may be illuminated by the creative, healing and liberating light of Christ! Amen!
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