Christ Our Shepherd Illuminates Us And Heals Our blindness
Readings: 1st: I Sam 16:1.6-13; Ps 22; 2nd: Eph 5:8-14; Gos: Jn 9:1-41
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Rejoice, Jerusalem. Be joyful, all who love her!” (Is 66, 10). Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent, called “Laetare” Sunday. This Sunday is marked by relaxation from the penitential character of the Lenten season. This Sunday, the Holy Mother Church exhorts us to be joyful and relaxed because Christ, our shepherd, illuminates us and heals our blindness.
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There is much to learn today from our first reading. First, Samuel obeyed God by going to where he was sent to go, specifically to Jesse’s tribe. Humbly and patiently, he followed and obeyed God’s instructions: “Send for him. We will not sit down to eat until he comes.” He did not rush into a fast decision by anointing any other person. Instead, he waited patiently until the right candidate arrived. So, we must be patient in carrying out God’s command.
Also, we must not allow physical appearance to deceive us. Unfortunately, often we elect our leaders based on their physical qualities alone. The result has always been catastrophic. On the contrary, when we make the right choice, people are truly liberated, the blind see, the lame work, the hungry are fed, and peace reigns.
In today’s second reading, Paul reminds us of our former dark state before Christ illuminated and liberated us. Hence, Paul admonishes: “Live as children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth.” Paul means that Christ is the light that illuminates our life. Living outside Him means abiding in darkness. Therefore, in this season and beyond, we must strive to remain in Christ, the light of our salvation.
In today’s gospel, Jesus restored the sight of a man born blind. Here Jesus proves that he cares for the well-being of his flock. This is mainly for the sick, the weak, and the marginalized. Again, today he broke another cultural and religious barrier to saving the blind man. He healed him on a Sabbath day. Without minding about the consequences, he attended to the essential need of the blind man.
Jesus’ disciples asked him: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” From this question, it is evident that the notion was that all suffering was caused by sin. However, Jesus’ response proved otherwise. God permits something to happen for the manifestation of his glory. In other words, this miracle remarkably revealed the power and glory of God.
The lessons we must learn from the man healed by Jesus include that the man was obedient to the instruction given to him: “Go wash in the pool of Siloam,” Second, we must be consistent with our words, faith, convictions, and the truth. Despite all the Pharisees’ intimidation, the man remained truthful and firm without denying Christ. Instead, he insisted that it was Jesus that healed him. According to St. John Chrysostom: “The Pharisees cast him out of the Temple; but the Lord of the Temple found him.”
Finally, the salvation that Christ offers us is like an illumination. Christ, obedient to God unto death, is our light. Whoever believes and accepts this illumination into his life is like one whose eyes were opened. This is because men were born blind, in darkness. However, the good news is that Christ liberates and heals our spiritual blindness. Hence, we can confidently say: “The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”
Peace be with you all!