Friday, March 28, 2014

Homily (2) 4th Sunday of Lent Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily (2) 4th Sunday of Lent Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
 Readings: 1 Sam 16: 1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-6; Eph 5:8-14 and John 9:1-41

Christ, who looks into our Hearts
 Today we celebrates, Christ the son of God, who gives us the vision of light, cures our blindness and looks into the hearts of each and every one of us. He loves us where ever we are. He cares for us and does not judge us from appearances. Today’s scriptures substantiate this divine attitude toward us, especially those that the society considers- the weak or the improbable!

 In today’s first reading God chooses shepherd David, the youngest son of Jesse to replace Saul as the new King of Israel (1 Sam 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a). He does this irrespective of other seven sons of Jesse, presented to Samuel for anointing.  This story illustrates God’s choice of improbable savior. It shows that God can write on a crooked line. The same young David would defeat the gigantic Goliath in a battle (1 Sam17). This is how God works. In many other places in the bible we have seen God chose Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Rehab the prostitute, Israel’s Judges, the prophets, prophetess and priests, our Mother Mary, and of course David, irrespective of their human weaknesses or lowliness to work his marvelous. Some of them like Isaiah would argue, “O God I am a man of unclean lips” or like Jeremiah, “I am too young.” Or like Mary, “how can this be since I am a virgin.” It goes back to the reading of today. God does not see as man sees. Man sees the appearance, but God looks into the heart of each and every one of us. Even though David on the long run would have his own trials, but God would establish for him an everlasting dynasty-- in Christ!

In the Gospel of reading of today, Christ’s healing of the blind beggar (John 9:1-41) receives mixed reactions. It is viewed differently and humanly by everyone, the passers-by, including the Pharisees who so much depended on external appearances and judgments.  For them Christ was not from God, because it was an abomination to heal and to perform charitable works on the Sabbath. There were also those who disbelieve that the man was born blind, in the first place (v.18). Christ must have been “faking the miracle.”

They did not believe in Christ. Disbelieve itself is a form of spiritual blindness. The more reason they went to confront the parents of the healed man in order confirm how their son’s healing came about. Out of fear they couldn’t testify much to the healing mercy of Christ. They simply said to the Pharisees “my son is of age ask him, how he got his sight.” Apart from disbelieve, sometimes fear and lack of spiritual courage can also blind us or deny us of an opportunity to speak or witness to the truth.

 Beside the image of David, our model of faith should be the blind man. We have our own blindness and weaknesses. In the case of the healed beggar, even though he is thrown out of the synagogue, persecuted, denied and rejected by family members and close neighbors (vv. 8-34), the cured man once again was found by Jesus, the Son of Man, whom he completely trusted and believed in (vv.35-36).  He worshipped Christ, who reassured him that, he” came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see and those who see might become blind” (v. 39).

 With this Christ is drawing a contrast between human sight and God sights. He is drawing contrast between the blind man who responded in faith to the light of vision brought him by Christ, and the Pharisees who claim to see, but disbelieve in the works of Christ. Human fear and faithlessness displayed by the parents of the blind and the Pharisees, can blind us from the light of Christ.  They are “fruitless works of darkness,” according to Saint Paul (Eph 5:8-14).

The light of Christ penetrates the hearts of each of us, in every land, culture and nation. It goes deeper than appearances. It knocks off the barriers of division and blindness of injustices in our broken world. It shepherds us (Ps 23) and brings us hope.  As we make progress in our Lenten discipline may we continue to trust in God’s healing light, and hope in his boundless love for us, that surpasses mere appearances!