Theme: THE LIGHT OF CHRIST: THE LIGHT OF FAITH, THE LIGHT OF LIFE AND THE LIGHT OF GOODNESS
- 1 Samuel 16:1. 6-7. 10-13;
- Psalm 22. R/ v. 1;
- Ephesians 5:8-14
- John 9:1-41 (Shorter Form, 9:1. 5b-9. 13-17. 34-38)
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Lent; Liturgical Year A. Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate Easter! Lent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and our death and resurrection with him in the sacrament of baptism!
Lent is therefore a time when our catechumens prepare for their baptism and when we who are baptized, prepare to renew our baptism on Easter Vigil Night, so that we will die and rise with Jesus Christ to the new life of Easter!
Lent is therefore a time of repentance! Lent is therefore a time when we prepare to receive the light of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of baptism! The light of Christ is the light of faith, the light of life and the light of goodness!
The three themes are related, that is, with faith in God, we receive new life from God, and the life from God is good, because God is good! In fact God alone is good! More importantly, light will overcome darkness, faith will overcome unbelief, life will overcome death, and good will overcome evil!
Because Jesus has overcome the devil! And Jesus will overcome the devil in us through his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the sacrament of baptism and we will receive the light of Christ, the light of faith, the light of life and the light of goodness!
The gospel today tells us about the light of faith. The gospel tells us that Jesus is the light of the world! (Jn 9:5b) The gospel tells us that Jesus anointed the eyes of the blind man and told him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. After washing, the blind man could see! He could see with the eyes of faith!
In the sacrament of baptism we will also be anointed with the Oil of Chrism and we will also be washed in the waters of baptism and we will also be able to see with the eyes of faith!
The gospel also tells us that the faith of the blind man grew! At the beginning he believed Jesus to be a man, then he believed Jesus to be a prophet, then finally he worshiped Jesus as Lord! The Pharisees on the other hand decreased in faith! At first they did not believe that Jesus is from God, and then they did not even believe that the man was born blind, and then finally, they believed Jesus to be a sinner!
After baptism we must continue to grow in faith like the blind man by attending Mass every Sunday; if not, we will be like the Pharisees, we will lose our faith!
The Gospel Acclamation tells us about the light of life! Thus we read:
“I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12; SM)
Anyone who follows Jesus to his death and resurrection in the sacrament of baptism will have the light of life!
The second reading tells us about the light of goodness! Thus we read in the second reading:
“You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth.” (Ep 5:8-9; SM)
The second reading “distinguishes children of light from children of darkness on the basis of their deeds.” (Vat.IISM)
The first reading tells us about the sacrament of Confirmation. The first reading tells us that Samuel anointed David with oil and the Spirit of the Lord seized on David! Thus we read:
“Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.” (1 Sam 16:13; SM)
“David’s success was due to the presence of Yahweh’s spirit with him.” (NJBC)
In the same way, the priest will administer the sacrament of confirmation to you by anointing you with the Oil of Chrism with these words: “N., be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit”. And you answer: “Amen”.
And like David, you will be made strong in the Spirit of the Lord! That is what the word “confirmation” means!
The responsorial psalm tells us about the sacrament of the Eucharist, that is, the sacrament of sacraments! The responsorial psalm tells us that the Lord God is the Good Shepherd who provides us with food and drink! Thus we read:
“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose. Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.” (First Stanza; vv. 1-3a; SM)
The responsorial psalm also tells us that the Lord God is the Host of the messianic banquet! (NJB) Thus we read:
“You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes. My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.” (Third Stanza; v. 5; SM)
In the Eucharist, the Lord God gives us his body and blood to eat and drink to give us eternal life! (Jn 6: 51-58; Eucharist; CSB)
During this time of Lent, the Church asks us to pray, to fast and to give alms to the poor and needy; not as a punishment for our sins, but to help us to repent. To help us to receive the light of Jesus Christ; the light of faith, life and goodness! To help us to receive the three sacraments of initiation, that is, Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist! A Blessed Lent to all of you! Today is also “rejoice” Sunday or “joyful or joyous” Sunday, because we are more than half way through to Easter! That is why we use rose/pink color vestments, etc.! A joyous and joyful Sunday to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.