2017-03-26, 4th Lent A, Overcome by the Light

Homily 03-26-17
4th Sunday Lent, Cycle A, 11:30 Mass
1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a: Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41

(Scriptures included after homily)

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In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

 All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.

 What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;

 the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jn 1:1-5

Do you remember when you were a kid and your grandma sent you down to the basement (actually the cellar) to get that special pan of hers?

And you knew exactly where it was.

And after getting outside and making it to the bottom of those scary cement steps and unlatching that creaky old wooden door, you came to find out that the light bulb had burned out.

And yet you were sure – you could find that pan, even in the pitch darkness of the cold, damp, windowless maze of a room.

You see, God has a way of teaching us how to pray . . .

What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of the human race.  The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”  Jn 1:3b-5

And as you came into contact with sharp saw blades and hot furnaces.  And as you kicked your toes into cinderblocks and knocked over shovels, you remembered . . .

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil.”  Ps 23

And even after you heard the scurrying of creepy creatures deep in the darkness,  there it was, exactly where you last saw it, the pan!

I am the light of the world.”  Jn 9:5
whoever believes in me might not perish, but might have eternal life.”  Jn 3:16

As you bolted out of that ‘horror-movie’ of a room, you knew, by heart, precisely how to avoid every stumbling block.  You knew how to miss every sharp blade and every hot pipe.

And you vowed to never, ever
DO that again!

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You see, the man-born-blind didn’t need a flashlight either.  He knew exactly how to get to that Baptismal pool of Siloam: the waters of “the One who was Sent” by God to open the shutters of our hearts and our eyes, and dispel the darkness with the Light of Life.

And when he came back, able to see, there it was again, screaming in his face – the darkness.

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Is there darkness in our lives, brothers and sisters?

– A boss who just won’t listen,
– A mom who won’t accept the fact
that I just cannot eat lima beans,
– A brother or sister who takes my things without asking,
and never wants to share,
– A favorite pet who was run over by a car
that was driving way too fast in the first place,
– A gruesome abortion,
– A mindless war,
– A hungry refugee?

Yes, the darkness is all around us.

But, WE have that Light of Life!

Despite the unbelieving Pharisees;
– despite the unsupportive parents;
– despite the immorality of indifference,
where anything goes and nobody cares;
– the blind man and WE know the Source of our light.

And we are well aware of our own blindness – without Jesus.

Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart.
1 Sm 16

WE are the Blind, being led by the hand and driven by the heart – to obediently follow our all-seeing God.

And this is our pool of Siloam.

Between the selection and anointing of Jesse’s youngest son, David, and the water cleansing of the man born blind;

– between David’s receipt of the Holy Spirit and Paul’s description of the goodness, the righteousness and the truth that we receive as God’s children of the Light . . .

– we see all the graces that Jesus showers upon us through our own Baptisms: the light, the love, the truth, the freedom and the family!

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The question is, are we truly living that Light?

Are we allowing the darkness around us to suck us into its horror, into its depression and despair?

Or are we shining the Light of Jesus, the Light of hope and the Light of truth into the hearts of those who are still lost without Him?

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You see, standing up to the darkness might just mean carrying those crosses of humiliation, or persecution, or even expulsion,  like the blind man who was given his sight.

But those crosses are beacons of light that will take us to places beyond our wildest imaginations:

To places where the hungry are fed and there is no war.

– Where the sun always shines and the crops always grow.

– Where the bugs don’t bite and there’s never any sickness or pain.

– Where there are no clocks, because there is no time,
and there is no need for gas, and there are no bills.

It’s a place where the air we breathe is so filled with Love that we can float about in it – in heavenly ecstasy . . .

Love coming in and Love going out,

the Incarnational Love of Jesus,

God’s Trinitarian Love,

our Eucharistic Love.

And everywhere we go, there is always that LIGHT!

I am the light of the world,” says the Lord, “whoever follows me will have the Light of Life.”  Jn 8:12

jmp 03-26-17

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Scripture Readings for the Mass of 03-26-17
Fourth
Sunday of Lent, A

First Reading:  1 Sm 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a

The LORD said to Samuel: “Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons.”

As Jesse and his sons came to the sacrifice, Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is here before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”

In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any one of these.”  Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” Jesse replied, “There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said to Jesse, “Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here.” Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance.  The LORD said, “There—anoint him, for this is the one!”

Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed David in the presence of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

R.  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.

R.  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side With your rod and your staff that give me courage.

R.  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

R.  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.

R.  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Reading:  2 Eph 5:8-14

Brothers and sisters: You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.  Therefore, it says: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Verse Before the Gospel: Jn 8:12

I am the light of the world, says the Lord; whoever follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel: Jn 9:1-41

As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.  We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” —which means Sent. So he went and washed, and came back able to see.

His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is, ” but others said, “No, he just looks like him.” He said, “I am.”  So they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” He replied, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went there and washed and was able to see.” And they said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I don’t know.”

They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees. Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.”

So some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath.”  But others said, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” And there was a division among them.

So they said to the blind man again, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight.  They asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?”

His parents answered and said, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Christ, he would be expelled from the synagogue.  For this reason his parents said, “He is of age; question him.”

So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give God the praise!  We know that this man is a sinner.” He replied, “If he is a sinner, I do not know.  One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.”  So they said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?”

They ridiculed him and said, “You are that man’s disciple; we are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from.”  The man answered and said to them, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.”

They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.

When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. Then Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not also blind, are we?”  Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.

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