Lent is meant to prepare us for the great conquest of light over darkness that is the Resurrection of Christ. And in today's readings the Church leads us to a deeper faith in Jesus, presenting it as true vision, participation in his light. There is a vision that transcends the physical. There is a light that is not only seeing, but also living. There are people who, simply by their life, give light. That is why St. Paul says to the Ephesians in today's second reading: "Before you were darkness, but now you are light through the Lord. Live as children of light". And he quotes a saying that seems to have been in circulation at the time: "Awake thou that sleepest, arise from the dead, and Christ shall enlighten thee.".
The Gospel focuses on this same theme with St. John's account of the healing of the man born blind. This man was physically blind, but thanks to faith in Christ he recovers his sight. But Jesus stresses that his true sight is spiritual, his faith. Our Lord contrasts this with the Pharisees who, though physically able to see, remain in spiritual darkness because of their lack of faith. So Our Lord concludes the miracle by saying: "For a judgment I have come into this world: that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.".
The Church encourages us to see in a new way through growth in faith. We can do all the Lenten acts we want, but if we end this time without a deeper faith in Jesus Christ as God made man and our Savior, all our efforts will have been in vain. We want to live in our own lives this extraordinary exchange between Jesus and the man born blind: "Do you believe in the Son of man?". asked the Lord. And he answered: "And who is he, Lord, that I should believe in him?". Jesus said to him: "You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.". And he replied: "I believe, Lord."and adored him. We are invited to know Jesus better and to see him more clearly with the eyes of faith.
The first reading also speaks of sight in the episode of the prophet Samuel who finds and anoints David king. When Jesse introduces him to his eldest sons, Samuel is impressed and thinks that one of them must be the chosen one. But God tells him not to take any notice of their appearance or stature: "It is not a question of what man sees. For man looks at the eyes, but the Lord looks at the heart". And finally David, the youngest, a mere boy, will be the chosen one.
Faith will lead us to see others more as God sees them, to realize their divine potential despite possibly disappointing first impressions. Faith is an anointing, an outpouring of grace upon us, so that we may confidently follow God as sheep follow their shepherd. By faith we see God, also in others, and follow him with confidence.
Homily on the readings of the Fourth Sunday of Lent (A)
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Sunday readings.