March 19, 2023
by Larry Hopp
Creighton University - Retired
click here for photo and information about the writer

Fourth Sunday of Lent
Lectionary: 543

1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
Psalms 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
John 9:1-41

Praying Lent Home

A Contemplation on the Man Born Blind
for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Fourth Week of Lent - 31 min. - Text Transcript

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Understanding the Scrutinies

Stations of the Cross

As we enter this Fourth Sunday of Lent, we remind ourselves of Jesus’ use of the Holy Word as He was being tempted by the devil throughout those 40 long days in the desert.  It doesn’t matter what form of sin or down right evil we may be facing, as Jesus so clearly demonstrated, the answer for our response and our protection can always be found in the Bible.

Today’s readings provide us with incredible insight into the results we can expect when we simply trust in the power of God’s Word, as Jesus did in the desert.  We begin with Samuel.  In this part of Samuel’s story, God once again spoke directly to him and directed him to go to Jesse to anoint a new king.  This task was certainly not a pleasant assignment for Samuel.  Not only was he sad to see Saul removed from the throne, but he even feared for his life should King Saul find out what he was doing.  To make matters worse, when Samuel arrived at Jesse’ home, the son he expected to anoint was definitely not the youngest son - David.  Surely the last one he would have chosen. Isn’t that really how life sometimes unfolds for us.  We hear God’s calling and we are filled with trepidation.  At times, it just doesn’t seem to make any sense.  It may even require us to work with people we may not trust, or even like.  We often forget that we are not alone, that God provides us with everything we might need to accomplish the task He has for us.  He looks at the heart – especially our heart. We simply need to trust.  Trust the almighty God of the universe. Whether he wanted to or not, Samuel followed God’s directive and King David proved God’s wisdom and sovereignty. 

In the midst of our doubting God’s directives for our lives, we can find hope in today’s responsorial Psalm 23.  We are reminded that with God, there is nothing more we could ever want.  He provides us with the rest and comfort we need to refresh our soul.  He guides us along the path He has laid out for us from the beginning of time.  We have nothing to fear as He provides all the courage we could ever need.  His goodness and kindness have always seen us through our most difficult challenges, and we can trust securely in our Lord as we look forward to dwelling with Him throughout all of eternity.

So what does this trusting look like as we push through our daily challenges?   How do we deal with difficult people?  Our second reading in Ephesians provides the simple, yet profound answer.  “Live as children of light, for light produces goodness and righteousness and truth.”  We learn what is pleasing to the Lord through meditating on His Holy Word and then following that path.   Christ Himself will give us His light.  That is simply what He does – He “is the light of the world” and following Him is the way to have & exude “the light of life”, as we find in the verse before today’s Gospel reading.

The concept of God as the center of light and truth is powerfully brought home in today’s Gospel story about Jesus healing the blind man.  Jesus’ disciples were trying to understand why the man was born blind in the first place.  Kinda sounds like us, doesn’t it.  Why do people suffer and why do bad things happen?  Jesus reminded them, and us, that He is “the light of the world”.  He demonstrated that He did in fact have the power to heal.  So where does that leave us?  Perhaps the blind man’s simple response is the key – “One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”  Perhaps that statement is far more spiritual than physical.  The Pharisees certainly did not understand what had just happened.  They could not see the light.  Yet truth and light were right there in front of them.  Jesus freely gives to those that will receive His truth.  That same truth and light that is available to each of us, we simply must seek Him and His Holy Word.

Dear Heavenly Father, open our eyes this day to see the world as You see it.  Help us to respond as You would respond to those You have placed in our lives.  Allow your Holy, Unquenchable Light to flow through each of us every moment, especially when life doesn’t seem fair or right.   In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen

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