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4th Sunday of Lent 2014

This 4th Sunday of Lent we continue with our journey through Salvation History, and like last week, the themes and symbols revealed in these passages hold special meaning for us in the RCIA.  Last week our theme was trust – trust in the Lord, and our symbol was water – life giving and life sustaining. water – the primary symbol of Baptism.  This week our theme is redemption, and our symbols are anointing and light

The Word for the 4th Sunday of Lent
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

We open with our first reading from the 1st Book of Samuel.  To put us in the proper context, Samuel was the last of the Judges, and it was he whom the Israelites cried out to for a king.  This was not what God wanted, but he granted their request, and Saul is appointed as the first King of Israel.  At this point in the narrative, Saul is getting on in years, and the people need a successor.  None of Saul’s sons are suited to the task, so God points Samuel to David, whom he anoints as the chosen one.

Our second reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the evangelist exhorts them to ‘live as children of light”  for as he says, “everything exposed by the light becomes visible.”  For Paul, darkness is all too real, having been struck blind by his first encounter with the risen Christ.  That blindness and darkness is exposed and brushed aside by the truth and light that is found in Christ.  Paul reminds us that we were “once darkness,” but through the light of Christ we “arise from the dead” and are redeemed.

Our Gospel, again from John, tells the story of the man born blind.  As with the story of the woman at the well from last week, we witness a story of conversion – a man’s journey, literally, from darkness to light.  Jesus does not accept the common understanding that a person’s ailments are the result of their sin, or the sin of their family.  Instead, he takes this opportunity to challenge everyone’s notion of blindness and light.  The blind man was marginalized not only by the Pharisees, but by all the people… What we would call a “social sin,”  where the actions and policies of an entire society are found to be “in the darkness.”  This passage not only challenges our notion of right and wrong, cause and effect, but is meant to force us into action for those issues that society may not readily want to face – to bring them into the light. 

Catholic Update:
Messengers of God’s Mercy:  Saints John XXIII and John Paul II
Seven Lessons from Pope Francis

As we get closer to Holy Week, our journey through Lent becomes ever more challenging.  By our baptism we share in Jesus' calling to be priest, prophet, and servant - tasks that are not always easy or appreciated.  Tasks that are nearly impossible to accomplish alone.  It is at this point we need to be reminded that Jesus himself did not work alone.  Along with the power of the Holy Spirit, he had the twelve Apostles and many other disciples willing and able to help with his mission.  Likewise we need to remember that when the going gets tough, we too can lean on the grace of the Spirit and the support of the community of believers - the Church - for help.  Only together we can become "children of light."

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