Homily for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A
Theme: Let the scale that covered your eyes give way for clear sight.
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Sunday March 22 2020
READINGS: 1 Samuel 16: 1.6-7.10-13, Ps. 23, Eph. 5: 8-14, John 9: 1.6-9.13-17.34-
The eye is the object for sight even though it receives light and after the transformation and interpretation by the brain, we are able to know about the object of our sight.
Without the eyes the object cannot be seen. It is God who gave man the gift of the eyes; so the eye is so vital in the knowledge of an object by sight. When the blind man says: “I see or I can see” does that strike any important note in you or evoke a serious topic of thought in you? The first question would be: Does a blind man see? Followed by what does a blind man see? And finally can a blind man see? These questions are asked because we notice serious defect in the organ of sight called the eye in that blind man. A serious deep thought would reveal that there are different ways of sight and many ways of seeing. It tells us that someone can see not with the physical organ of sight but by other means and in that case see things differently. We have then three main types of sight: mental sight (intuitive sight), spiritual sight, and physical sight. The physical uses the physical organ of the eyes to see, the mental uses the brain and mind to see; it leads to imagination and conjecturing. This is the situation where someone can actually close his eyes and still see in himself the property in their house at a different location without being physically present there. One can imagine and arrange his house in his head even before physically being there. This eye of the mind sees the immaterial and can arrange and re-arrange things and design something. This is what is seen in the imagination of the artist and the designer. This is what makes man to produce a masterpiece of something not seen. It is this that made Plato and the ancient philosophers to speak about the world of Ideas as real and the physical world as imitation. The real thing is in the world of idea.
The Spiritual eye probes into the immaterial as well and it sees from the Christian point of view the things that concern God and the spirits and seeing his will in everything. This helps us to see what the will of God is all about and what lies hidden about God, the spirits and the heavenly hosts. This is the sight that motivates religion and spirituality of every child of God especially the Christians. No human being can live on this earth without any of the aspects of sight; they are all good but the best is the spiritual. The experience of the disciples of inner circle at the scene of transfiguration says it all and you may ask Moses and Abraham about what it looks like seeing God face to face. St John in his apocalyptic experiences marvels us greatly.
Beloved, one thing about the physical sight is that it can be deceiving and be poor; it can be false and unreal. It can be right or wrong and can also be very misleading. This is the crux of the matter in the first reading. Here God had rejected Saul as the first King of Israel but Samuel was still seeing kingship in Saul. What God has removed, he still sees and what God has ordained, he does not see. He was still grieving over the rejection of Saul when God asked him to go to the house of Jesse to anoint the one he has chosen.
Here the spiritual sight was necessary since God is spirit and all who worship him must do so in spirit and in truth. Samuel and Jesse and the rest there on the day of revealing the choice of God had eyes but could not see, have ears but could not hear and nostrils but could not smell; they are like the gods of the pagans and so is all who trust in them id we are to allude to the psalms. They all implored the physical eyes and so they failed. The physical eyes deceived them and to make wrong choices for God who rejected what their eyes could see and approve by saying: “I have rejected him” and finally “the Lord has not chosen these”. It should be noted here that the people have scales covering their sight and unless God removes them, they would not see clearly what the Lord was showing them.
There are causes of scales covering the eyes and the scales can vary in each person. Worst cause of the scale is unbelief, then lack of faith and finally sin. Beloved, this was what St Paul was referring to in the second reading when he said: Once you were darkness; but now you are light in the Lord. With darkness no one can see any object, he stumbles and falls. When through sin we walk in the unfruitful works of darkness we remain blind and cannot see what God reveals or know what he wills that we should know. In this we are no more children of light for the works of darkness is found in us. In sin we become blind and contract spiritual cataract and glaucoma.
Beloved, the gospel dramatized this issue of blindness and scales that cover our eyes like those of Saul on the Damascus road. Jesus in the gospel today unveils his mission in the world that is to make the blind world to see. We are like that blind man who was blind from birth because from our birth through original sins, we are all blind and groaning in the dark world of sin. Jesus has come to make the world to see. Even when the world keeps pointing accusing fingers on what made us blind and refused even to initiate the request to be helped by Jesus to see, yet He cannot pass us by. Jesus uses the anointed spit of his mouth, the word that comes from his mouth to open our blindness and remove the scale enshrouding us. Beloved, since blindness makes man ignorant of the things that exist, he keeps arguing and finding faults. The world refused to be happy and welcome the light that shines in the dark and that overcomes darkness but is angry at the one who received the light. They condemn him and the source of his sight (Jesus). They wished to kill the man who received the light. They refused to embrace the light but distanced themselves from it. Even the parents were afraid of the blind world since they also are blind and asked their son to speak for himself.
Beloved, the believer in Christ Jesus is chosen like David to be the eye of the world. He like Jesus shall be a sign to be rejected and contradicted yet he like Christ shall bring the rise and fall of many. The chosen child of God must resist intimidation of the world and remain firmly convinced in what he has received- the Light of Christ. This is what we shall symbolically receive on Holy Saturday- Lumen Christi. We must turn like this blind man who now sees, evangelize the world around us and make them see the marvels of the Lord: If this man were not from God, he could do nothing; the man testified and taught others. We must convince them of what God can do and who he is for the world. When we are cast out for being the light, Jesus would receive us and we only need to say: Lord, I believe and then worship him the more. Let your life challenge others around you to ask: Are we also blind?
We pray that we may turn into children of light in Christ Jesus and try to learn what is pleasing in his sight; let our lives expose the works of darkness that we may awake as sleepers in the faith so that Christ’s light may shine upon us, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf