HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF LENT YEAR A.
THEME: HEAL MY SPIRIT OF BLINDNESS.
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya.
1 Samuel 16:1,6-7,10-13
Light and darkness, sight and blindness are the contrasting images of the readings of this Sunday. The central message is that Christ heals our spiritual blindness in our Baptism and makes us witnesses of the truth.
The Gospel reading today is about the cure of a blind man. But the story has far deeper implications than just a person receiving his sight back… this story contains a great challenge to all of us, because it is about the ability to see with the eyes of faith! , about seeing as God sees, about the different levels of seeing with the eyes of faith and the various stages of growth in faith
In the beginning he was blind, he was in darkness. In the end he is in the light, not just of his physical sight but because a deeper insight opens him up to Jesus who is the Light of the world.
Before his neighbours, he affirmed that he was cured by a ‘man who is called Jesus.’ That was everything he knew about Jesus then. When asked by the Pharisees what he thought of ‘the man,’ he answered, ‘He is a prophet.’ And finally he addresses Jesus as ‘Lord’ – a title reserved for God. This acknowledgement has an implication—that we come to live as the children of the Light.
From these we see the different levels of seeing with the eyes of faith and the various stages of growth in faith
The figure of a man blind from birth is a fitting image of the human condition known as ‘original sin.’ Without personal fault or responsibility, the man is nonetheless truly ‘in the dark’ of a sinful world. St. John tells the story of the man’s cure by Jesus in a way that reveals who it is that is truly blind—those who stubbornly refuse to accept Jesus as the light of the world.
Social sin is not the same as original sin, but flows from it, and is the cumulative result of human choices to turn away from the light. Not only each individual, but the world itself—as a result of original sin, the personal sins we commit, and structures of social sin—is in need of Christ, our physician, for healing.
Samuel too was blind for a moment, for he couldn’t see the person God had chosen to be King until David was brought in. And what does Samuel notice most about David but his “beautiful eyes”. Can this be a metaphor that David would have the sight needed to recognize God and be the King Israel wanted? And then we sing “The Lord is my Shepherd” tying together the fact that like David, Jesus is also our shepherd. In Ephesians today the meaning is even more clear – “Once you were in darkness, but now in the Lord you are light…Christ will shine on you.” And in the Gospel Jesus explains that he has come “into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see…”
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Today’s Gospel makes a very clear point, that the blind man had no problem in admitting his blindness but the Pharisees had problem in admitting theirs. Hence, the blind man was able to see more than the religious leaders could; he gradually saw the saving hand of God at work, in Jesus; whereas the Pharisees had perfect physical eyesight, but could not SEE! Jesus called them blind! And sadly, they remained in their blindness, because they refused to acknowledge it.
There are many forms of blindness which are just as crippling to the human spirit as being visually impaired. Here are a few examples:
Selfishness: this blinds us to the needs of others.
Insensitivity: this blinds us to the hurt we are causing others.
Snobbery: this blinds us to the equal dignity of others.
Pride: this blinds us to our own faults.
Prejudice: this blinds us to the truth.
Self-centeredness: this blinds us to the beauty of the world around us
Materialism: this blinds us, and makes us numb to spiritual values. Food for thought!
We are like the blind wandering around in a world whose beauty we cannot see, clouded by much sin and corruption. But Jesus allows us to see. And what is it that we see? We see the light of Christ, we see the heavenly kingdom reflected on earth, we see our sins and faults for what they are, we see the beauty of God’s word, we see the struggle of the Church to continue to bring light to the world, we see things as they really are – and we are like the blind man – enabled to see Jesus for who he is, truly is – our Messiah, our Savior, our Light, our Way to God.
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