Thoughts on the Readings for the 4th Sunday of Lent (A) 2016

For this Sunday’s readings, click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032617.cfm  

My mother’s father (my grandpa Degnan) went blind about 20 years before he died.  He accepted his blindness so well, that it was never an issue. It was just a part of who he was.   In fact, it wasn’t until around 2nd or 3rd grade that I that I realized that not everyone had a grandfather who was blind.  

I always think of my grandfather when I read today’s Gospel.   In that Gospel, for the 4th Sunday of Lent, Jesus healed a man “blind from birth.”  Unfortunately, since Jesus had healed the blind man on a Sabbath, some of the Pharisees criticized Jesus because “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath.”    Others, however, said: “How can a sinful man do such signs?”  As a result, “there was division among them.”    In an effort to resolve the issue the Pharisees asked the blind man about Jesus.  He responded:  “he is a prophet.”   The Pharisees (or at least some of them) obviously didn’t like his answer because they replied:  “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” (At the time of Jesus, misfortune or hardship were thought to be a punishment from God for some personal sin or the sin of one’s relatives.)  “Then they threw him out.”   When Jesus heard what happened he sought out the blind man and informed him that he was the “Son of Man.”  We are told that the blind man then worshiped Jesus.     

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the first book of Samuel.   In it Samuel is sent to “Jesse of Bethlehem for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”   Jesse then brought seven of his sons before Samuel, but the Lord rejected all of them.  Then Samuel asked Jesse: “Are these all the sons you have?”   Eventually David, the youngest son, who was tending sheep, was presented.  The Lord said:  “There --- anoint him, for this is the one!”  

The message of both the Gospel and the first reading is clear.   God “sees” things differently than we do.   

Our second reading this weekend is taken from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians.    In it Paul urges the people of Ephesus to “Live as children of the light………” 

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. In the New Testament, physical blindness if often a metaphor for spiritual blindness.   Can you recall a time when you were spiritually blind?   How did you come to see?
  2. Has someone or something ever caused you to see things in a new way or to see things from God’s perspective?    
  3. What do you think Paul meant when he invited people to live as children of the light?   
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