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Bulletin: March 22, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Lent Our Lenten journey continues this Sunday as we hear of Jesus healing a blind man in the Gospel of John. Jesus proclaims himself the light of the world, a light that overcomes darkness and enables a new capacity to see. The man, blind from birth, was able to begin his path to sight by first acknowledging his blindness. We are reminded of God’s ongoing invitation to us to journey from blindness to sight. We begin by acknowledging our own capacity for “blind spots,” and so open ourselves to uncomfortable truths and to God’s healing. We are invited to see beyond appearances, as the reading from Samuel indicates, and to look into the heart of things. We are invited to “live as children of light” as the letter to the Ephesians teaches. Like the man healed from blindness, we may gradually learn to see fully and to follow Jesus. HEALING FOR COMMUNITY It is helpful to observe that our Gospel passage from John, the healing of the blind man, is the first part of a longer episode. When Jesus’ words end Chapter 9 in today’s passage, he goes on speaking in the discourse on the Good Shepherd in Chapter 10. The healing of the blind man was not only a demonstration of God’s power, giving him the physical capacity of sight. It was even more than the awakening of the man’s personal faith in Jesus. The image of the Good Shepherd confirms that the man was liberated from the social isolation of his blindness and became a member of Jesus’ flock. All of Jesus’ powerful actions of healing were intended as gifts, not only to individuals, but for the building up of the community of faith. HUMILITY AND ACTION “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart.” In our first reading, Samuel draws conclusions about who God will choose as king based on his assumptions of what a proper king looks like. But God sees a deeper reality. How easy it is to miss our own blindness. How frequently we are unaware of our own flawed assumptions about others and about ourselves. We often need a deeper humility about the limitations of our perceptions and our convictions. Yet, as the letter to the Ephesians encourages, there are times to expose the “fruitless works of darkness”, to speak out, especially when persons or groups are suffering from abuse or oppression. We are called to live within a tension that these scripture passages convey. We are to seek God’s guidance in prayer with genuine openness. We are then to speak and act forcefully against wrongdoing, even as we maintain humility about how much we know, or what is the best action to take. We are called to bring God’s wisdom and mercy to all. Today’s Readings: 1 Sam 16:1b, 6–7, 10–13a; Ps 23:1–3a, 3b–4, 5, 6; Eph 5:8–14; Jn 9:1–41 [1, 6–9, 13–17, 34–38]

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