Posts Tagged ‘John 9:1-41’

Seeing In The Dark ~ 4th Sunday of Lent (a)

1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a

The Heart (16:7)
In Hebrew, the heart (leb) represents the inner man, the real self.  Have you ever had a friend who has decided to date someone that you do not view as particularly pretty or handsome?  Maybe they even had a physical deformity or weakness?  And yet, your friend came to fall in love with this person.  How is this possible you wondered.  Reflect on the possibility that your friend is seeing their inner beauty rather than their outward appearances.  How important it is for us to learn this lesson God taught Samuel. How do we recognize the heart (leb) of other people we meet?

With the anointing, as in Saul’s case spiritual power (13).  Again God chooses his man and prepares him long before he becomes a national figure.  Are we open to God preparing us for His use?

Psalm 23
We love this psalm.  We know the song by heart.  We reflect on this psalm with a variety of meanings depending on whether it is used to say farewell to a loved one, to accompany us and give us strength during times of trials, or more.  Today it takes on a new meaning when it combines with our other readings.  God is both shepherd and host.  He is guiding us and providing for us.    How have I seen God acting as shepherd in my life and guiding my ways?   How do I recognize when God has provided for me and been my host?

Ephesians 5:8-14
In this letter to the Ephesians, light and darkness are contrasted to describe who has been redeemed by Jesus.  The light of Christ comes into our world to chase away the darkness.  Paul tells his readers that through Jesus they have become children of the light.  People who live in the light seek goodness, justice, and truth. How do I reflect that I am a child of the light today?  How do I seek goodness, justice and truth?

John 9:1-41

In the story of the man born blind, faith is equated with seeing.  Jesus opens the eyes of the young man, but the deeper miracle is the opening of the eyes of faith.   Clearly the story is not simply a miracle story about healing a blind man.  It is about spiritual sight.  Seeing is a metaphor for coming to faith.  What experiences have you encourters that have helped you to come to a deeper faith.

In the Gospel story no one stands by the man who was born blind.  they question him, oppose him, ridicule him and even his parents will not stand by him for fear of being expelled from the synagog. As part of the Chruch’s Lenten experience, today’s Gospel is also an invitation to examin our own spiritual blindness.  What “blindnesses do you wish that Jesus would heal for you?   How are we looking for an increase in spiritual sight?

In jesish thought, disease was considered the result of sin. today’s Gospel contains a debate about “whose sin was it” that caused the man to be born blind. It is the guestion for job in the OT. Why do bad things happen to good peole:

In daily life we may ask that question in other ways.  Why am I single? Why am I in a painful relationship? Why do we not have enough money? What did I do to desrve this?  the assumption in each case is that god caused this to happen.

In considering the place of god in human suffering and disabilities, another question relates involvement in the pain.  It is important to help people realize that God does not abandon them in their suffering.  Jesus promised to be with us always.

The man born blind is given the gift of faith.  He gradually comes to realize who Jesus is. he begins by referring to him as “that man they call Jesus”. Then he says “he is a prophet”  Later he affirms that this man is from God. finally, when asked by Jesus if he believes in the Son of Man, he replies “I do believe, Lord.”   We too can gradually grow in our spirituality, in our coming to believe.  Faith does not always come all at once.  This is the second week in a row where we hear about Jesus encountering someone and that person growing in their faith.  How is your faith/spirituality continuing to grow? What are some of the things that I can do to grow more in my faith?  What am i actively doing during this time of lent to grow closer to Jesus?  To see with the eyes of faith?   Can I feel/see my faith and spirituality continuing to grow?  What blindfolds do I need to have removed to improve my relationship with Jesus?  Which ones can I take off right now?  Which ones will take more time to remove?    Pray for these intentions now.

I invite you to join us Weds evening, March 30 (7-8:30pm) at the Franciscan Center of Tampa.  We will gather in a darkened room and close our eyes  (youth groups might choose to use blindfolds).  Listen as the Gospel is proclaimed….  we will pause right after the blind man regains his sight.  Turn on the lights, open eyes and/or remove blindfolds.  Finish proclaiming the Gospel, followed by discussion questions and prayer.