The fourth Sunday of Lent is known as “Laetare or rejoicing Sunday.” It expresses the Church’s joy in anticipation of the Resurrection of our Lord. But how can we rejoice amidst the battle against the Coronavirus pandemic. Today’s word of God reminds us that it is God who restores light in the midst of the darkness in our world and so our faith in Him is what makes us joyful. Just as He defeated sin and death in the resurrection we anticipate, He will also help us defeat this pandemic.
By describing the anointing of David as the second king of Israel, the first reading illustrates how blind we are in our judgments and how much we need God’s help. God chose David as king in spite of his rough appearance, because he was a man after His own heart. (Acts 13:22) We must remember that God sees differently from us, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.
St. Paul in the 2nd reading exhorts the Ephesians and all of us to live as children of the light. We are children of light when we produce every kind of goodness, justice and truth and commit ourselves to these values with great courage. For God wants us to live in the light and that’s why He sent His Son to overcome darkness that we might all rise from the dead and receive the light of Christ.
In today’s Gospel, we are presented with the man born blind who received sight from Christ. He is overjoyed because Christ conferred on him, not only physical sight but also spiritual sight. His inner eyes of faith were opened and Christ radiated His own light into the eyes, mind and heart of this blind man so that he believed in Him.
At baptism, we too received the same gift of faith, a faith that can light any path, relieve any distress, bring joy out of sorrow and turn a hellish situation into a heavenly one. At baptism, we too received the light of Christ; a light for which millions waited anxiously through the ages; a light whose dawn makes all things new; a light that gives more than sight, for it enables us to rise from the darkness of sin and death into the light of Christ’s life.
Lent is a time to seriously ask ourselves the following: Do we overlook people in need and keep abstractly discussing evil in the world like the disciples who asked whose fault it was that the man was born blind? Are we blind to the sufferings of the poor, the sick, the oppressed and the abandoned? Are we afraid to support the just causes like the parents of the blind man who would not stand up for him before the authorities? Are we blind to our own faults and do we blame others for them?
Through our Lenten observances, God will remove the darkness in our lives, and help us to respond in faith and love to the Truth about ourselves and our world. Then we will see as God sees! May we pray for clear vision in our lives. Peter Marshall, the former chaplain to the United States Congress, used to pray thus; “Give us clear vision Lord that we may know where to stand and what to stand for, because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”
May we celebrate this Sunday with some rejoicing amidst the pain and suffering caused by the Coronavirus knowing that the Lord of light will remove the darkness in our world as we anticipate the resurrection. Amen.