3-31-2019 4th Sunday of Lent
Apr 1, 2019
Lent IV / C / A / The Man Born Blind/ 2019
Msgr. Patrick S. Brennan
The readings on the third, fourth, and fifth Sundays of Lent are all taken from the Gospel of John, and they are all about conversion—an appropriate theme for this season of Lent. Last week was "The Woman at the Well," in which a Samaritan woman discovers Jesus as the Living Water. This week, "The Man Born Blind," a blind man receives sight and recognizes Jesus as the Light of the World. And next week, "The Raising of Lazarus," Jesus is Life. Living Water. Light of the World. Life Itself.
Because our reading today is long with many details in it—a challenge for preachers—I want to point out just a few highlights that will give us the heart of the message on this Fourth Sunday of Lent—Laetare, Rejoice Sunday, and our Second Scrutiny.
1) Jesus is passing by, and he "sees" a man described as "blind from birth." Two important points here:
Note that Jesus takes the initiative—Jesus always takes the initiative— Jesus "sees" us and "finds" us;
Note that the man is "blind from birth." We might say that all of us are blind from birth—born into a dysfunctional world. We can’t see properly! Jesus is the one who opens our eyes to the Truth. Jesus is "the light of the world"—in his light we see light. We see what is true and good.
2) The blind man is told to "Go wash in the Pool of Siloam." The pool is Christ himself, and the water is the water of Baptism. We are blind going into the water; we see when we emerge from the water. Baptism produces vision. It produces light so that we can see. "A light shining in darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it."
3) But this is only the beginning . . . there are consequences to this new life. Baptism doesn’t take away the challenges of life! The first consequence is that the blind man’s neighbors and friends don’t recognize him. He has been "reborn" in the Pool of Siloam (Christ)—he is a new person—the same, but different. His parents disown him, the Pharisees accuse him of sin, and he is thrown out of the synagogue (excommunication).
4) After all this commotion, everything turns silent. The man is abandoned and alone—until Jesus "finds" him again.
Jesus says, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" Only now, having passed through suffering and rejection, is the man able to make the supreme act of faith: "I do believe, Lord, and he worshipped him." Faith leads to sight—which always leads to worship.
When the Lord opens our eyes, we see the Truth—and that Truth is Jesus Christ. Scrutiny II
An examination and an exorcism:
1) to uncover, then heal, all that is weak and sinful in our hearts;
2) to bring out, then strengthen, all that is upright and good.