1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
Reading II: Ephesians 5:8-14
In parishes where there are people involved in the RCIA Programs, the Second Scrutiny will take place. Those discerning receiving Baptism and/or other Sacraments will be prayed over by the priest and congregation. This is to support them as they seriously consider whether they choose to accept Jesus as their Savior and to follow him within the Catholic, Christian Community.
The study of the cure of the blind man in John’s Gospel is very appropriate as the candidates prepare to make a decision about choosing to believe, trust and follow Jesus. It is also very important for the baptized in the congregation if they are serious about renewing their baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil or on
Jesus tells his disciples: “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When Jesus sees a man who was blind from birth he spits on the ground, makes clay with his saliva, and smears the clay on the blind man’s eyes. Then Jesus says to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which appropriately, means sent). The blind man goes, washes, and comes back able to see.
The neighbors of the blind man, used to seeing him as a beggar, are questioning whether he is the same person or just looks like him. Then, the Pharisees propose that because he was cured on the Sabbath the one who cured was a sinful man. Finally, they ask the blind man, “What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes,” The blind man’s response was, “He is a prophet.”
As the blind man continues to be interrogated, he replies, “It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything.” The listeners resent the blind man’s response and throw him out of the synagogue.
When Jesus hears of his plight, he finds him and gives him the opportunity to make a profession of faith in Him. Jesus says, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The blind man answers, “Who is He, sir, that I may believe in Him?” Jesus reveals his identity saying, “You have seen Him, the one speaking with you is He.” Can you just imagine what joy and gratitude the blind man feels as he proclaims his faith saying: “I do believe, Lord.”
Jesus claims that he is the “Light of the World.” Jesus could cure the man of his blindness immediately. However, it first requires that the man go to the Pool of Siloam and wash. It seems that the Lord is showing us through this example that he wants us to participate in the healing process. We may ask, “Why?” Is there value in going through a gradual healing & enlightening process? Is there value in shared efforts? What is most important to the Lord, is a personal relationship
Perhaps, the Lord may be teaching us about relationships, whether they be with another human being or with the Lord. The bond will be deeper and more lasting if there is conscious effort to cultivate it on both sides.
We know that the Lord chooses to remain with us in a special way in the Eucharist. Do we make an effort to live consciously in his presence? It is a real challenge in today’s busy and noisy world. However, we can find ways if the relationship is important to us.
I can remember when I was in Catholic Elementary and High School we would remember the holy Presence of God when the clock would strike the hour.
I vividly recall Sister Cecilia Agnes, CSJ who would stop teaching in the middle
of a sentence so that we could focus on the presence of God and praise him.
I also know someone who consciously asks God’s guidance in even small, everyday decisions. I try to do that, but more often than not, I run ahead of the Lord instead of following Him. However, the Lord is pleased with our efforts. I often think of the response of Sr. Thea Bowman when she was asked what she would like to have written on her gravestone. She simply responded: “I tried.”
Reflection Question: How can I cultivate my relationship with the Lord this Lent and beyond?
Stephanie Morris, Ph.D. Historian, Certified Archivist, Emerita
How does one build a relationship? By getting to know more about the person and spending time with that person. We can build a deeper relationship with the Lord by spending time with Him in adoration and in prayer. If we read or listen to Sacred Scripture with an open heart, we may hear a special word or phrase that reaches out to us. Mother Katharine said that “all our good thoughts come from God.” Sometimes God writes words in BOLD to reach us just when we need that thought.
Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
“I am your God, I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made. I love you with a love that has no limits, because I love you as I am loved… You are my child. . . . I am your God—the God of mercy and compassion, the God of pardon and love, the God of tenderness and care… I so much want you to be with me. I so much want you to be close to me. I know all your thoughts. I hear all your words. I see all your actions. And I love you because you are beautiful, made in my own image, an expression of my most intimate love…Let my love touch the deepest, most hidden corners of your heart and reveal to you your own beauty, a beauty that you have lost sight of, but that will become visible to you again in the light of my mercy. Come, come, let me wipe your tears, and let my mouth come close to your ear and say to you, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you.’ ” These words of Henri Nouwen, from his book, You are the Beloved clearly communicate God’s ardent desire for us to be in relationship with him.
My parish holds an evening Adoration hour on Wednesdays during Lent. It is such a gift to step away from the busyness of the day and enter into the stillness of the church to sit quietly in the Presence of the Lord. While I am “doing” this practice for Lent, I am blessed, healed, and renewed beyond measure as I focus my attention on Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
In his Lenten series entitled, “Best Lent Ever,” Matthew Kelly reminds us of Jesus’ words from John 10:10, “I have come so that you may have life and have it to the fullest.” We are created for incredible joy and for happiness. God wants us to be fully alive. If this is true, and I believe it is, the only place we can experience lasting joy and aliveness in in relationship to Jesus.
Matthew Kelly refers to “Holy Moments” in his daily reflections. The more Holy Moments we create in a day, the more we will experience the joy of Jesus. We can have personal Holy Moments where we pause and center our thoughts on God. We can also create Holy Moments whereby we share Christ with others, such as genuinely listening to someone who is hurting, smiling at a stranger, showing gratitude to the checkout clerk in the supermarket. Opportunities abound when we set the intention to seek and create Holy Moments.
Cultivating Holy Moments is a good way to grow in relationship with the Lord during Lent and beyond. Kelly offers three action steps to assure that our good intentions bear fruit: Focus, Act, Pray.
The following suggestions are from Matthew Kelly’s Best Lent Ever.
Focus: “God wants to collaborate with you to create Holy Moments.”
Act: “Starting today, seek to create one Holy Moment daily.”
Pray: “Holy Spirit, please collaborate with me to create a Holy Moment today.”
May you enjoy a Blessed week filled with many Holy Moments