THE LIGHT OF CHRIST GIVES EVERLASTING JOY
1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7; Ephesians 5:8-14; Gospel: John 9:1-41
God is omniscient. He has knowledge of everything happening under the surface of the earth or what will happen in the future. He equally knows the secret thoughts in the hearts of every human being. Hence, He does not judge people based on their appearance or outward disposition, but from the heart. Since He is all-knowing, He enlightens the minds of those who sincerely seek Him and also heals their infirmities.
Meanwhile, this 4th Sunday of Lent is known as “Laetare Sunday.” Laetare means “rejoice.” This is taken from the Latin translation of Isaiah 66:10–11, which opens with the entrance antiphon of the Eucharistic celebration, “Rejoice, Jerusalem!” “Be joyful, all who were in mourning!” This sets a tone of joyful anticipation for the Easter Mystery. We are rejoicing because of the light of Christ, which has brought unending joy to our souls.
In the first reading of today, David is being chosen amongst his elder brothers to be the King of Israel by no human calculation or analysis but only by the voice of God. In the choice of David, it is not seniority but suitability that is the decisive criterion that the Lord employs. In spite of his shabby appearance, God still approves of him because he is a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 16:12). This explains in clear terms how the Almighty God makes His own choices and judgments.
Human beings are prone to making wrong choices or analyses, especially when they are neither spiritually guided nor enlightened. However, God looks at the disposition of one’s heart or the intention of one’s actions. He does not approve of someone based on their physical appearance, which could be deceptive. This shows that whoever has not received the light judges things through human eyes; in reality, he or she cannot see at all.
The Gospel reading tells us how to reach the light so that we will no longer work in darkness. Here, the man born blind struggles to come to faith in Jesus Christ amidst trials, persecutions, and difficulties orchestrated by the Pharisees (John 9:26–34). Consequently, Jesus Christ heals him and restores not only his physical sight but also his spiritual sight. In other words, Jesus opens his inner eyes of faith and radiates His own light into the mind and heart of the blind man so that he may believe in Jesus Christ.
Certainly, Jesus Christ is the true guide and moral authority as the “Shepherd” and “Light” of the world, who enlightens all who believe in Him or draw near to Him (John 8:12). At baptism, we too receive the light of Christ, which enables us to emerge from the tomb of sin and death into the light of Christ’s life. We also receive the light of Christ through the Scriptures, Holy Eucharist, and Confessions. This light guides our decisions at all times and helps to enlighten our minds and hearts, especially those who are still living in darkness or are passing through difficulties in life.
Unfortunately, many unscrupulous personalities or leaders in our contemporary society tend to become obstacles to people seeking the light of Christ, just like the Pharisees who rejected the good works of Jesus Christ due to hatred, jealousy, envy, etc. Some of them make it difficult for others to be enlightened or to come to the true knowledge of God. They would prefer that people, apart from their own children or family members, remain in the darkness of ignorance, unemployment, poverty, corruption, bad governance, etc. These kinds of people have a poor sense of judgment because they have not received the light of Christ.
In the second reading, St. Paul urges us to arise from the dead works of darkness and allow the light of Christ to enlighten our minds and hearts so that we can see as God sees. He says, “Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light, for the fruits of light can be seen in complete goodness, uprightness, and truth, and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8–10).
Moreover, our gifts, talents, positions, qualifications, occupations, vocations, etc. are powerful means of enlightenment. They go a long way toward pushing away the frontiers of ignorance and darkness, especially for those in dire need of help. Of course, we are truly the children of light if “we produce every kind of goodness, love, compassion, justice, equity, fairness, and truth” and commit ourselves to these values with courage.
Finally, we are called to embrace the light of Christ so that we may be healed and transformed holistically. This light gives everlasting joy to our souls and impacts us with the spirit of discernment, which enables us to have a true sense of judgment in life. It will also help us when we are passing through trials and difficulties, and it is important to understand that trials and difficulties could also be the antiseptic elements that help us reach maturity in the faith. No matter the obstacles we may encounter, with our eyes fixed on Christ, we shall surely triumph.
As children of light, despite the fact that we live in a world where people are valued not for what they are but for what they seem to be, we should not judge people based on their outward appearance or hearsay. Neither should we become obstacles to their progress. Nevertheless, we should always use our gifts, talents, positions, qualifications, occupations, vocations, etc. to dispel the darkness that has enveloped our contemporary society.
May the Power of the Holy Spirit enlighten your heart and mind, and grant you holistic healing, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.
Peace of Christ be with you…
Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.
HOMILY OF 28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
Homily of 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.
May God give us the grace to always fix our eyes on him no matter the situation.
Amen. Thank you very much my dear Gloria. May the Holy Spirit continue to strengthen you more and bless you always, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.