Walk as Children of the Light
In this lovely homily for 4th Sunday of Lent, Year A, Father Hanly looks at the story of the man who was blind from birth, and urges us to walk as Children of the Light.
Readings for Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year A
- First Reading: First Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
- Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14
- Gospel: John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
It’s a simple story of Jesus and the beggar born blind. Jesus sees the beggar begging on the road and he does not walk on by but stops!
His disciples ask who has sinned, he or his parents, that he should be born blind. To Jesus, it’s not a matter of who is to blame, but rather what is to be done to reach out and help him. Jesus proceeds to heal him.
First, he makes clay out of dirt, then smears the clay on the beggar’s eyes. Why clay? To remind him and his disciples how God created Adam, out of clay from the ground. God created him in the Garden of Eden and thus was born new life.
So Jesus anoints the beggar man with clay and sends him to wash in the pool of Siloam, the sacred pool where angels come and are said to move the healing waters. The blind man comes back seeing.
A new life, a new creation is born, just like Adam. No longer will the blind man stumble about in darkness, but now he will walk in the light of the Lord.
When they hear the news of the healing, the Pharisees are blinded by their own arrogance, claiming the man has broken the sabbath. Even his parents are blinded by their fears of the authorities, and the beggar man, the beggar man who now can see, is thrown out of the synagogue and into the streets.
And for what reason? For telling the truth. Jesus looks for him, finds him and calls him out to become one of his own disciples.
Lessons? Many: the blind man sees and those who claim to see become blind.
If the truth be told, we, too, are often blind; blinded perhaps by prejudices, by our ignorance, by our fears and our pride, and so, too often, we choose to sit in the dark, afraid of the light and what the light might reveal to us about ourselves.
And yet the small voice whispers gently not in our ears but into our hearts. It is the voice of Jesus: “Do not be afraid! It has pleased the Father to give you a kingdom.” And again: “I am the light of the world. He who follows me does not stumble about in darkness.”
And, of course, there is the greatest mystery of all: how Jesus comes to cure us of our own blindness.
We need only to turn to Jesus, our Lord, in faith and in prayer, asking him for his help, to help us to see the world through God’s eyes, to see as Jesus sees, and judge as Jesus judges, to forgive as he does and did from the cross of Calvary: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
My brothers and sisters, during this Lenten season, let us, then, each morning as we wake up from sleep turn away from the darkness and rise with Jesus to walk with him as Children of the Light into the dawn of a new day.