Fourth Sunday of Lent Year A (26 March 2017)

1Sam 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6 (R.v.1); Eph 5:8-14; John 9:1-42

“The people who lived in darkness have seen great light; on those who lived in the land of the shadow of death, a light has shone” (Isa 9:2; Matt 4:6). The evangelist Matthew connected the above prophecy of Isaiah with the person of Jesus, when Jesus visited the territory of Zebulum and Naphtali. In the Gospel of John, Jesus would make that association himself when he declares, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). What follows after that declaration would be a description of how he manifests that light in the world.

First of all, he would stand as a testmony to the liberating truth (John 8:12-57) just as the prophet Isaiah had declared, “I will make you a light to the nations, so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth” (Isa 49:6). It is within that bracket that the Gospel of today falls into. Again, the prophecy of Isaiah makes the connection perfectly when it says, “I will make you a covenant to the people and a light to the nations, to open the eyes that do not see, to free the captives from prison, to bring out to light those who sit in darkness” (Isa 42:6-7).

There are two major kinds of blindness that the evangelist John discussed in the Gospel of today: physical blindness and spiritual blindness. He started with the physical blindness where the man, who was born blind (John 9:1) opened up himself to Jesus and gained a lot from him – healing (John 9:7), boldness (John 9:17, 27), knowledge (John 9:30-33) and faith (John 9:38). Notice the emphasis on this man being born blind. St Augustine links that to the blindness we incured from Original Sin which is cleansed at Baptism. Hence, those preparing for Baptism at this period must open themselves to Jesus as the blind man did so that they can also be perfectly healed.

As for the spiritual blindness, we can see that in the lives of the Pharisees who claimed to be embodiments of knowledge and agents of the light, hence did not need the light which Jesus brings with him. Indeed, they are among the chosen race (cf. Deut 7:6; 1Pet 2:9) and descendants of Abraham (see John 8:37) but they were not walking as children of the light as St. Paul teaches the Ephesians in the Second Reading (Eph 5:8). Of course, they could not be saved by the light of Christ as the physically blind man because, even though they belonged to the lost sheep of Israel (cf. Matt 10:6), they see themselves as the impeccable children of Abraham (see John 8:39; 9:41).

This is a message for all of us, especially those who embrased the Goodnews from the missionaries early enough. It is possible that we carried the box for the white men that came to evangelize our people or were baptised by Reverend Father Kettle or Reverend Father Pot; it is possible that we have never missed Mass since we became Christians and we receive Holy Communion on daily basis. All these are good. They present us as privileged and practising Christians. But the question is: Have we accepted Christ as the light of the world or do we live hypocritical lives, thriving in the activities of darkness?

Listen to the blind man himself: “Lord, I believe” (John 9:38). That was his faith-declaration after receiving his sight from Jesus and being found by Jesus after the Jews expelled him from the synagogue. Through our baptism, we are restored to sight as this man. So, our baptism should constantly insight a strong faith in Christ inside of us. Moreover, all the miracles that happen to us in life ought to lead us to make that faith-declaration. Your waking up from sleep today is a miracle. Has it any effect on your faith in Christ today?

Christ is the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5). Those who believe in him would not live in darkness but have great light (Isa 9:2; Matt 4:6). When you are in the light, those who dwell in darkness cannot harm you but only experience chaos among them (cf. John 9:16). Even when they plan and seem to execute evil plan on you, they are simply sending you to a better ground just as this man’s expulsion from the synagogue initiated his meeting with the Lord of light, Jesus Christ (cf. John 9:34-35).

Do not worry about the condition the enemy has put you today or schemes to put you because of your blessings from God. The enemy cannot touch you without working to achieve God’s purpose in your life. JUST BELIEVE and pray: “Light of Christ, light our way, light our way as we go.

May Christ the Light of the world shed the darkness that weighs us down spiritually so that we may walk with confidence along the road that would lead us on into the Kingdom of God. Amen.

I wish you a miraculous and luminous Sunday. Peace be with you.

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