The Fourth Sunday of Lent
2020 – Cycle A
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41
What is wrong with everyone in the Gospel today?
All everyone is concerned about is…
…whether a man who was born blind is telling the truth; thus indirectly calling him a liar, …whether this is a case of mistaken identity, …arguing over the interpretation of religious Law, … declarations of who is sinful and who is not and threats of excommunication.
Questions are raised, various possibilities mulled over, the “bucked is passed” from the man to his parents and back to their son, disagreements and divisions ensue, and frustrations and anger rise marking the whole sordid affair.
Everyone is oblivious.
A person who has lived their entire life in a total abyss of darkness
can for the first time…
… see the face of his parents!
…can see the brilliance of the sun,
…the rippling of wheat in the fields,
…the great blocks of hewn stone rising as the walls of Jerusalem,
…the yellow of lemons and the green of limes hanging in the trees,
…can see the cascade of stars like diamonds stern across the night sky,
…light shimmering on the surface of water,
…the rich red of choice wine and the crustiness of freshly baked bread.
A person for the first time…can see!
And no one notices or cares!
How much goodness occurs every day in our lives and in the lives of people around us that we do not notice, shunt aside or do not care about because we are too busy, in a rush, does not fit into our worldview, happens outside of how we think God should act, or we simply miss, because like the man’s parents, we are afraid?
Without joyfully recognizing and gratefully acknowledging the daily goodness of God we can slowly descend into darkness. A dark lens through which we only see the obscurity and uncertainty of life dominated by fear and sin, lies and suspicion, accusation and division. A world devoid of goodness because we will have shut God out.
We find ourselves living in the unexpected world of the coronavirus. People are understandably reacting in various ways: anxious, bewildered, fearful, oblivious, helpless? How are you reacting? As Christians, can we imaginatively find goodness in this confusing time?
How will God be present in a unique way through our children being home from school?
How might time from work, school, extracurricular activities, the gym, gathering with friends produce goodness within our lives?
What good can come from the loneliness of an elderly neighbor? Might it be you who are to be goodness to them?
If we can’t gather and pray together in church, what ways might we pray at home and find goodness in each other’s presence or the presence of people we are praying for?
How might the fasting from friends and coworkers through self-quarantine make us more appreciative of the blessing that the people are who walk with us in life?
What might God be saying to us as we look on empty grocery shelves?
Can we find humour in this situation to lighten the heart?
What do we perceive God is saying to us through empty, silent streets?
Why is God calling us into solitude as individuals, as a family, as a church, as a society? What will we encounter in this solitude and silence? What goodness will be revealed to us? Might we discover the fullness of God in the quite depths of our souls?
What goodness might arise from this involuntary fast from the Eucharist? How will we re-approach the Eucharist in the future when can again gather together?
Like the man born blind who can now see, will we become more aware of the beauty of creation that surrounds us and the people in our lives?
Jesus said that while he is in the world he is light of the world. But Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reminds us that it is our turn; that now we are light in the Lord. How do children of light live? We live in hope. Trusting in what cannot be seen. Called to help other people lost in the darkness of this frightening time not to turn in on themselves but to turn out and see!