Sunday, March 11, 2018
The Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year B
(For Year A readings click here or scroll down)
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” John 3:16
This Scripture passage from John’s Gospel is a familiar one. Often times, at large public events such as sports games, we can find someone holding up a sign that says, “John: 3:16.” The reason for this is that this passage offers a simple but clear summary of the entire Gospel.
There are four basic truths that we can take from this Scripture. Let’s look at each of them in a brief way.
First, it’s made clear that the Father in Heaven loves us. We know this but we will never fully comprehend the depth of this truth. God the Father loves us with a profound and perfect love. It’s a love that is deeper than anything else we could ever experience in life. His love is perfect.
Second, the Father’s love was made manifest by the gift of His Son Jesus. It is a profound act of love for the Father to give us His Son. The Son meant everything to the Father, and the gift of the Son to us means that the Father gives us everything. He gives His very life to us in the Person of Jesus.
Third, the only appropriate response we can make to such a gift is faith. We must believe in the transforming power of accepting the Son into our lives. We must see this gift as a gift that gives us all we need. We must accept the Son into our lives by believing in His mission and giving our lives to Him in return.
Fourth, the result of receiving Him and giving our lives in return is that we are saved. We will not perish in our sin; rather, we will be given eternal life. There is no other way to salvation than through the Son. We must know, believe, accept and embrace this truth.
Reflect, today, upon this summary of the entire Gospel. Read it over and over and memorize it. Savor every word and know that in embracing this short passage of Scripture you are embracing the entire truth of God.
Father in Heaven, I thank You for the perfect gift of Christ Jesus Your Son. By giving Jesus to us, You give us Your very Heart and Soul. May I be open to You more fully and to the perfect gift of Jesus in my life. I believe in You, my God. Please increase my faith and love. Jesus, I trust in You.
Grace from the Ordinary
The Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year A
(Note: This Gospel is optional for Years B & C with Scrutinies)
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth…
He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” — which means Sent —. So he went and washed, and came back able to see. John 9:1, 6-7
Who was this man? Interestingly, he does not have a name. He is only referred to as the “man blind from birth.” This is significant in the Gospel of John because the lack of a name is also seen, for example, in the story of “the woman at the well.” The fact that there is no name indicates that we should see ourselves in this story.
“Blindness” is our inability to see the hand of God at work all around us. We struggle to see the daily miracles of God’s grace alive in our lives and alive in the lives of others. So the first thing we should do with this Scripture is strive to see our lack of sight. We should strive to realize that we so often do not see God at work. This realization will inspire us to desire a spiritual healing. It will invite us to want to see God at work.
The good news is obviously that Jesus cured this man, as He willingly cures us. To restore sight is easy for Jesus. So the first prayer we should pray as a result of this story is simply, “Lord, I want to see!” The humble realization of our blindness will invite God’s grace to work. And if we do not humbly acknowledge our blindness, we will not be in a position to seek healing.
How He heals this man is also significant. He uses His own spit to make mud and smear it on this man’s eyes, which is not immediately that appealing. But it does reveal something quite significant to us. Namely, it reveals the fact that Jesus can use something exceptionally ordinary as a source of His divine grace!
If we look at this in a symbolic way we can come to some profound conclusions. Too often we look for God’s action in the extraordinary. But He so often is present to us in that which is ordinary. Perhaps we will be tempted to think that God only works His grace through heroic acts of love or sacrifice. Perhaps we are tempted to think that God is not able to use our daily ordinary activities to perform His miracles. But this is not true. It is precisely those ordinary actions of life where God is present. He is present while washing the dishes, doing chores, driving a child to school, playing a game with a family member, carrying on a casual conversation or offering a helping hand. In fact, the more ordinary the activity, the more we should strive to see God at work. And when we do “see” Him at work in the ordinary activities of life, we will be healed of our spiritual blindness.
Reflect, today, upon this act of Jesus and allow our Lord to smear His spit and dirt on your eyes. Allow Him to give you the gift of spiritual sight. And as you begin to see His presence in your life, you will be amazed at the beauty you behold.
Lord, I want to see. Help me to be healed of my blindness. Help me to see You at work in every ordinary activity of my life. Help me to see Your divine grace in the smallest events of my day. And as I see You alive and active, fill my heart with gratitude for this vision. Jesus, I trust in You.