Sunday Breakfast with the Word 4th Sunday of Lent Year A
To Heal Our Blindness through Jesus
1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41
Today is the 4th Sunday of Lent, known as Laetare Sunday. The Name “laetare” comes from the first words of the Entrance Antiphon for Mass, “Laetare Jerusalem” — This means”Rejoice, O Jerusalem”. In today’s liturgy, signs of joy are allowed. This expresses our hope in the resurrection that is to come. It inspires us to remain faithful and hopeful of the resurrection morning and that our Lenten observance, commitments to prayer, fasting and almsgiving are not in vain.
Therefore, amid the Lenten season, prayer, fasting and passion, the liturgy of today is telling us to rejoice.
The readings of today, especially the gospel, give us a consolatory note that we still have a saviour who is ever ready to heal and save us from our disabilities and spiritual blindness.
The world now needs healing. Many people are losing faith in God, many are clogged with spiritual blindness. It looks as if nothing is happening. Therefore, we need healing, we need salvation. We need the power that will heal our imperfections. The world has abandoned God. Like the Pharisees today, many do not believe in the power of Jesus.
The world has been blindfolded with some scientific assertions, human ideologies, beliefs and some personal idiosyncrasies. We have been besieged with spiritual blindness. Only Jesus can save us again from this blindness. Our healing process comes through Jesus and only if we can permit Him to touch us like the blind man did and not like the Pharisees who have bluntly refused to accept Him because of their religious blindness and idiosyncrasy. Jesus comes to heal our blindness.
What is Blindness
Blindness is the inability to see things. It is the inability to understand or discern properly the things of God. Therefore, in the gospel of today, the man who was healed came to be saved when he was delivered of His blindness.
Therefore, spiritual blindness is when we do not yet come to the knowledge of God. It indicates those times when we are very far from salvation.
Spiritual blindness is also when we do not understand the message of the gospel, when we remain very far from God and when we have lost faith in God.
The purpose of this lenten season and observance is not just to observe lent but to transform our lives.
We need total healing. We need salvation from our spiritual impairments and blindness.
Jesus is Always Willing to Heal
1.One beautiful thing the gospel of today reveals to us is the compassionate heart of Jesus towards the suffering and those in need.
Can we discover that the Man that Jesus healed never asked for the healing in the first place? What happened was simply that Jesus set his sight on Him. The gospel says that “As Jesus passes by, he sees a man blind from birth”.
The fact that Jesus sees this blind man is in itself remarkable. This reveals that Jesus is always willing to save. He is always willing to heal. Let us not give up on Him. His compassionate heart is beyond our comparison.
2.Secondly, the apostles drew his attention to the man, and instead of allowing the man to go on his way, Jesus decided to deliver him. This is Jesus for you. The first step to his healing is that Jesus sees him.
That means for Jesus to deliver and heal us from our imperfections, infirmity and blindness we have to make ourselves always available to Him. Let us make ourselves available to Him. He is willing to save and heal us. Let us be willing to approach Him at the confessional always.
Jesus is so merciful and loving than we think. Because of what we are passing through, many see God as very far from them. The real truth is that we are people that are very far from God. Many today have lost faith. Many Christians today go to church sometimes not because we truly believe it is God we are going to meet but we do most times for the sake of fulfilling a responsibility.
3.Thirdly, to show how compassionate He is, Jesus did not pass the beggar without putting a smile on His face. He knows that He can do what the beggar needs and He did not waste time doing that. Here, Jesus teaches us to always do the same.
Today, people prefer to pass by beggars without seeing them, so many of us who are in good positions to help, prefer to overlook and even intimidate those around us with their resources and even glory when the needy continue to beg and plead for help from them.
Others use the problem of someone around them to take advantage of them. Let us look up to Jesus. Jesus saves and heals without asking, but we wait to be asked and still overlook those we know we can heal or save.
We can heal someone through our words, prayers and gifts. The way you talk to someone can change his or her heart.
Jesus heals without asking for anything in return, but many of us will help expecting something in return either in cash or in kind. Let us live like the master if we are truly what we said we are; beloved children of God.
No Condition is Beyond His Power
This is a man born blind that many thought there was no hope of restoration again. It baffled the Jews and the Pharisees that they consistently were trying to know whether the man born blind was by birth truly. But the Presence of Jesus does not only assure hope but it is hope itself. There is no condition beyond Him.
1.We may be blind physically through the problems we are now, through the crisis ravaging the world, through our daily problems in which we may have concluded that nothing is to be done.
We may have been blind spiritually, maybe there is a particular sin we continually find hard to conquer. What we need is the presence of Jesus.
Difficulties, sicknesses, sin, etc all bow in His presence. Unless you have concluded that your own Jesus is inferior to them. Dear reader, we need Jesus, the world needs Jesus. We need the grace of God to pass through these hurdles.
2.Secondly, Light and darkness are symbols of good and evil in this Gospel of John.
The First chapter of the Gospel of John has told us that the Word is “the light of men” (John 1:4) and that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).
It referred to the Word as “the true light that enlightens everyone” (John 1:9). Jesus told Nicodemus, “This is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and but men loved the darkness rather than light; for their works were evil” (John 3:19).
He told the woman caught in adultery, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Now Jesus says the same thing to this blind man. He says “It is for judgement that I have come into this world so that those without sight may see and those with sight turn blind.’
Jesus has come to enlighten people about God. This blind man presents an opportunity for Jesus to demonstrate his light-bearing mission. He will bring physical light to a blind man. He will also bring spiritual light to the world.
To heal our blindness, we have to go to Jesus. No one goes to the light and remains untouched, no one goes to Jesus and remains the same. The world needs Jesus.
Whatever Happens, May Still be For His Glory.
The disciples asked Jesus if the blindness is as a result of the sins of his parents or the sin of the blind man itself. Their question assumes that the suffering of man is caused by sin. This was a common belief among the Jews at that time. They base it on the commandment of Deuteronomy 5:9 which says
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
We shall also remember when Job lost his possessions, children, and health, Job’s friends assume that un-confessed guilt is the root of Job’s misfortune. But for Jesus, this was a different scenario. He says to them that neither the man nor His parents sinned. According to Jesus, this happened so that God would be glorified.
Also, Exodus 20:5 says, “I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me”. A thought that is repeated in Exodus 34:7; and Numbers 14:18.
The blind man and his parents are surely accustomed to hearing that blindness is the result of sin.
They may probably assume that the man’s blindness is somehow their fault. But Jesus has a response to this.
Jesus denies that man’s suffering is caused by sin. Instead, his situation provides an opportunity for Jesus to heal man, thereby revealing God’s glory and works.
Therefore, It is useful to remember that God’s works can be revealed through adversity. How can we know the power and glory of God if not that something great happened in the midst of adversity?
How can you give testimony, if not that good thing came amid a challenging journey? Whatever is happening to us may be for a reason best known to God. Therefore, to heal our blindness we always need Jesus. We need Him always both in joy and sorrow. So, whether good or bad we give God all glory.
The Healing Process From Jesus
When you follow the discourse, you will see that after Jesus said “As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.’ He proceeded to heal the man in the gospel.
The blind must have heard Jesus talking about himself. So the first point here is that this man is also willing to be healed. To heal our blindness, we need to desire to be made well.
This is not just coming to church for the sake of coming. This is an attitude that must arise out of a sincere desire.
The first reading simply teaches us that God always looks at the heart and not at the outward appearance. Man always looks at outward appearance. But God looks beyond to know those who truly and sincerely search for Him.
Therefore, the first teaches us that God does not see us as we do. He knows those who are truly faithful to him and obedient to his will.
The man listened attentively to Jesus. Jesus spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam.
So, he went off and washed and came back able to see. Here, the healing process goes like this:
listening to Jesus, having strong faith in His word and action in obedience to the command, then healing and seeing.
The blind man heard Jesus, gave him the full opportunity and permission to touch him, obeyed what he said, and then acted in obedience. When we do the same, there will be a total transformation.
Jesus reiterates in John 10:27-28 that those who know him are his sheep, they are those who hear his voice and follow him.
After the miracle, the blind man saw Jesus and worshipped him. Later in the gospel, Jesus explains to Him who He is. He then came to full knowledge of Jesus. If we are truly committed to knowing Jesus, we have to follow the healing process. He will gradually reveal Himself to us.
Be The Light and Healing
Jesus is the light of the world. As followers of Jesus, we are now children of light. We need to be the light wherever we are. We have to bring light to souls that have lost faith in God.
We need to be the source of healing to many souls who are passing through difficulties, we need also to be the salvation tool for souls who are already deep in sin.
In the Second reading, Paul tells us to be like children of light. Darkness can never come from light. Therefore, we do not have to be agents of darkness and evil but veritable tools for salvation.
According to Paul, we have to discover what the Lord wants of us. We must avoid everything that has to do with the futile works of darkness.
Finally, We need to be the light wherever we are to constantly illuminate the lives of others. We need to be a source of healing to heal others from sin and past mistakes. As Paul says, this lenten season is a time to wake up from our sleep and rise from the dead, so that the light of Christ will shine on us.
We are dead in sin. We need the light of Christ to shine on us.
1. Immediately Jesus put clay on the eyes of the man, He commanded him to go and wash off. Washing is an act that cleanses us from dirts.
In the Church we believe that baptism cleanses us from sin. At home, we wash to make our clothes and household clean. Therefore, whenever we hear the word “wash” it denotes sanctification, purification and making ourselves clean. So, to heal our spiritual blindness, we have to wash our faces from sinful lives, past mistakes and any life that does not give God glory.
In the case of the man born blind, there was a disability, but after the washing, He became clean. Therefore, we have to wash ourselves from everything that is keeping our cleanliness. We have to wash ourselves from every form of life that has disabled our intimate relationship with God.
Wash yourself of enmity with anyone, hatred, immorality, wickedness. Let us wash away any immoral and evil friends always leading us away from God. We have to wash away the life of prayerlessness, laziness, worry, lack of faith in God and unwillingness to make ourselves available to God.
Immediately, the man washes himself, he became clean. So, when we wash ourselves of these, we shall transform and our lives will change.
2. Our problem is that we have continually become like the Pharisees who shut their ears and hearts towards the Messiah. They continually fight and attack Jesus.
The world has continually shut its hearts and minds towards God and continually refused to give him permission in our lives. We have wounded His heart with the sins we commit.
We are like the Pharisees who saw a good thing but refused to accept that good thing. To heal our blindness, we need to make ourselves available to the Lord. Always visit the Blessed Sacrament, and go for confessions. Be happy that you are returning to God and not that you are very far away.
Repentance of sin should give us joy. But it is sad that today, we seem to derive joy in sin rather than in doing good.
3. What God needs from us is a heart that is committed to Him. In the first reading when Samuel was in the house of Jesse to anoint David, they brought Eliab to Him, Samuel thought that he must be the man God has chosen, But God told him that his attention towards man is always at the heart.
The heart that longs for Him, the heart that wants to be in perfect relationship with Him, is what God needs. It is not the heart that is full of evil, wickedness and envy. It is not a heart that is full of immorality.
The heart that God admires is the heart that is intimately connected to Him. It is the heart that loves Jesus. We need Jesus, you need Jesus, and the world needs Jesus.
4. One of the problems that we have today is shallow faith. We seem to have faith but we do not have faith. When challenges come to test our faith, we fall and lose hope in God.
Did we notice that the healing of this man did not happen instantly?
Jesus spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, then put this over the eyes of the blind man, and commanded him to ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam’. The man went off and washed, and his sight was restored.
You will discover here that Jesus does not want to heal man instantly. He wants him to exercise his faith first. We see this in the case of healing the ten lepers whom he told to go and show themselves to the priests. As they went, they were cleansed” (Luke 17:14).
Sometimes, before God wants to do something for us, He tests our faith in Him. Many of us fail at this point. Therefore, we must be willing to show our faith both in bad and good times. We need to work on our faith.
HAPPY SUNDAY AND GOD BLESS YOU
Fr. Sanctus Mario Okey