FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT (2020)
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
I encourage you to read the full gospel story from John. Once again, in Year A, we are treated to a beautiful example of John’s ability to tell a dramatic miracle story (called “Signs” by gospel scholars) which is beautifully staged with stars (Jesus and the man born blind), supporting actors (the man’s parents, the disciples, and the Pharisees), and the larger cast (neighbors, and the “Jews,” who represent the subset of Judaism opposed to and fearful of Jesus). We are not meant to be misled into thinking of how was this man cured of his blindness, but rather we are meant to be lead to put our faith in who cured this blind man, a person drawn with his parents into the maelstrom created when an act of pure goodness by Jesus causes the blind man and his parents to be subjected to various interrogations meant to embarrass Jesus. The man’s blindness is symbolic of our faith, and its restoration by Jesus is seen as a fulfillment of what was foretold by the prophets. The challenge to us in this Lenten season is, as our second reading from Ephesians suggests, is to live as “children of the light,” “taking no part in the fruitless works of darkness,” but living lives that produce “every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” When Lent ends, and it may end differently than it has in other years without the sacraments being celebrated, we need to be the children of the light that we are called to be.
It goes without saying, that life is changing by the moment with the threat of the coronovirus, and we need to maintain our hope in a brighter future. The famous composer of church music, David Haas, reminds us as so much continues to be canceled, that what really matters is what cannot be canceled, when he tells us:
Love has not been cancelled.
Mercy has not been cancelled.
Prayer has not been cancelled.
Attentiveness has not been cancelled.
Goodness has not been cancelled.
Thanksgiving has not been cancelled.
Kindness has not been cancelled.
Music has not been cancelled.
Conversation has not been cancelled.
Learning has not been cancelled.
Poetry and storytelling have not been cancelled.
Courage has not been cancelled.
Meditation and contemplation have not been cancelled.
Painting and dancing have not been cancelled.
Families have not been cancelled.
Community and solidarity have not been cancelled.
Faith has not been cancelled.
Hope has not been cancelled.
And … God’s presence with us has not been cancelled.