Sharing the Word of God – 4th Sunday of Lent
From Fr. Turlough Baxter
Sharing the Word of God
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
As we gather at home on this Sunday morning. Let us spend some time in the presence of the Word of God.
Let us pray
O God, who through your Word
reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way,
grant, we pray,
that with devotion and eager faith
your people may hasten
toward the hope of Easter.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Let us become open to the Word as me meditate on the psalm for this Sunday
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.
He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.
You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.
Surely goodness and kindness
shall follow me all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.
We can read this psalm again and pick out the phrase or word that speaks to us in a special way.
Open to God’s Word let us now reflect on the Gospel for Sunday
A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John (Jn 9:1-42)
As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. He spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man & said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam’. So, the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored. His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one.’ Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ The man himself said, ‘I am the man.’
They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been the Sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man’s eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, ‘He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.’ Then some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the Sabbath.’ Others said, ‘how could a sinner produce signs like this?’ And there was disagreement among them. So, they spoke to the blind man again, ‘What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?’ He is a prophet’ replied the man. ‘Are you trying to teach us,’ they replied ‘and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!’ And they drove him away.
Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Sir’ the man replied ‘tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You are looking at him; he is speaking to you’. The man said, ‘Lord, I believe’, and worshipped him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Let us spend some time in Silence
Reflection on the Gospel
In this story Jesus reveals to a man born blind both the gift of sight and the light of faith which brings salvation. Furthermore John, great dramatist that he is, presents the story in the light of a great irony, i.e. that those who consider themselves to be living in the light of faith (the Pharisees), are actually the persons most in the dark. And what is at the heart of their darkness, according to John? A stubborn refusal to accept that Jesus comes from God, held so strongly as to justify the diminution of other people’s extraordinary life experiences, including reception of sight by a man born blind.
Can you relate in any way to the man born blind? Have you ever known others to refuse to share in your joy or diminish your personal experience in a disinterested or hostile way?
It takes great strength of character today to openly profess one’s faith.
And where is the risen Christ in the midst of our personal present-day challenges and upheavals? I dare suggest he is here with us, that he has gathered us, and puts to us the same question he put to the man who received his sight: ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’
Let us open our heart in prayer:
- That in this time of challenge that we may keep hope alive…
- For all those who are working to slow down the spread of the virus that they may be given wisdom…
- For all the medical professionals that they may be given the strength and skills that are needed…
- For scientist who are working on a vaccine, that they may have the gift of understanding to reach this goal…
- For all who are anxious and worried that they may be supported …
- For those who are isolated, or have lost their jobs, that they may not feel alone…
- That we may support each other and ensure the safety of all…
- That those who have died may find peace…
- For the prayer in my heart today…
Let us turn to the Lord who offers us the bread for each day as we pray
O God, who enlighten everyone who comes into this world,
enlighten our hearts, we pray,
with the splendour of your grace,
that we may always ponder
what is worthy,
and love you in all sincerity.
Through Christ our Lord.
Look upon those who call to you, O Lord,
and sustain the weak;
give life by your unfailing light
to those who walk in the shadow of death,
and by your mercy bring us to reach the highest good.
Through Christ our Lord.
May the Lord bless us, keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.