Sunday March 30, 2014 Mass Readings and Reflection
Sunday Says March 30, 2014
Fourth Sunday of Lent (NAB Readings)(Jerusalem Bible Translation)
This Sunday is a little different from the other Sundays in Lent. The liturgical color changes from purple to pink. It is a Laetare Sunday – a reason for some celebration. it’s still Lent, and the regular Lenten things apply, but our spirits a re different.
1 SM 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A
This first reading from Samuel is another classic story of the Old Testament. At this time King Saul, the first King of Israel, was failing in his duties, so the Lord sent Samuel, the last Judge left from before the King, to find and anoint a new king. Samuel invites the elders of the town for a ritual sacrifice and the Lord tells him that the new king shall come from the sons of Jesse in Bethlehem. Instinctively, Samuel begins with the oldest and strongest son and then goes down the line. The Lord quickly stops Samuel and lets him know that “Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart,”. Only after Samuel asks, does Jesse share that there is one son left, David the youngest left to tend the sheep. It turned out that David, the little one, presumed too young and too little turned out to be the great King David.
PS 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6
R/ (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
This week’s second reading is from the letter to the Ephesians, where the majority of the converts came from pagan religious rather than Judaism. This is why it is said that they were once in darkness and now are in light. We see more of this theme of spiritual blindness. In our communion with God, we are able to see more of what was made invisible by the darkness in our fallen, human condition. Then it closes with empowering phrase from an ancient baptism hymn: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
This week’s Gospel from St John reflects on how people often think that God is out to get us. LIke last week, there are two options for the length of the Gospel, so the one you hear at mass may be the longer version than the one I read.
In this Gospel, the people ask Jesus about what caused the man’s blindness. In their mode of thinking, someone had to be to blame. They believed it was a consequence to some sin that his parents had committed or one of his own sins that caused the blindness. How sad it would be if God punished us so for every sin. In an interview last year, Pope Francis was asked “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” and he simply answered “I am a sinner.” We are all sinners in the sight of God, and are all in desperate need of His loving mercy.
Jesus challenges us. Encountering Him is never something that is boring, and it always poses as a challenge to turn away from the darkness our eyes were so used to seeing. Sometimes coming from the darkness to the slight takes a moment for it not to hurt, but then we are free to see everything.
May this Lent be an opportunity to use the light to see where we can let go of the darkness.
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