Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Fourth Gospel, the Gospel of John, presents this intricate little drama in its ninth chapter as a call for us all to allow the Lord to open our eyes. The Temple leaders and Pharisees were too concerned with themselves to do this. They were not going to have some commoner from Nazareth upset their lifestyle. We are all tempted to do the same thing ourselves. We may be pretty settled in our family when we suddenly realize that our spouse or one of the children has a big problem. Our spouse, or one of our older children, college age, is drinking way too much for it not to be a problem. But it is so easy to close our eyes to this--maybe it will go away. We act as though it is asking too much for us to give of ourselves to solve the problem. We refused to see the Lord calling out to us in others. We don't see the whole picture. We are blind to his presence.

As another example, perhaps at work or in school we are confronted with people pushing us to make unchristian choices. We know that we could take a courageous stand and say "That is just not right, or even, That is not my style," but this would make for further conflict. We don't see the whole picture. This is our opportunity to really stand up for Christ. So, instead of making life difficult for ourselves, we go along with the crowd, in conversation if not also in deed. We end up being blind to God's presence calling us to give witness to the power of Christ in the world.

God's reality and our human perception of things do not necessarily match. Neither Jesse nor Samuel the prophet thought that the future king of Israel would be the most insignificant of Jesse's sons. No one expected the Messiah to be a commoner from Nazareth. We focus on our perceptions of what God should be like or how he should act. And we miss the big picture, his presence in our lives. Even in times of sickness, we expect God to heal us, when actually our sickness might be the very way that we draw closer to him. We expect God to solve our problems when actually these problems help us to keep a perspective on what really is important in life. By demanding how God should act, as the Pharisees did, we become blind to his presence among us.

Today, in the midst of the Eucharistic sacrifice, we pray for the grace to take steps from darkness into light ■
Ilustration: Illustrator of 'Bréviaire de Martin d'Aragon', David anointed by Samuel (15th century), Illumination, Bibliothéque Nationale de France (Paris).

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris