Fourth Sunday of Lent – Year A

by Fr Z Ngwenya

Click here for Sunday’s readings

First Reading: 1 Sam 16: 1. 4. 6-7. 10-13;
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 23: 1-6
Second: Eph 5: 8-14
Gospel: Jn 9: 1-41

From the beginning, Christianity has manifested itself as an amazing paradox; perhaps, this is the key to today’s readings. God does not look at appearances, as men do, but at the heart. This is the reason he chose the youngest of Jesse’s sons to anoint him king of Israel. The Christian paradox does not surprise us. The Christian God is the one who is closest and, at the same time, the most remote. He is omnipotent but comes to us as weak. He is a loving Father, with an interior that is maternal. He is spiritual and invisible but makes himself visible in the transparency of flesh. In the human way of evaluating persons and things, the greater the task the more one looks for the best trained leader, with a strong and attractive personality, and a greatest number of qualities. In today’s first reading, God reveals he does just the opposite: he chooses the little, that which does not count in the eyes of men. With this paradox, God highlights what matters most in a mission: not just personal qualities but the strength and power of God’s Spirit.

In the Gospel, Jesus says: “For judgement I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Jesus is the light of the world, in his person, his teaching and his works. The persons most prepared to be illuminated by the light of Christ were, undoubtedly, the Pharisees, who made of the Law and the Scriptures the reason for their whole life. In today’s Gospel, Jesus points out the paradox: they think they see, and this is why they are deprived of sight. Whereas the poor man born blind, who had no preparation, but was free from prejudices and prefabricated talks, not only recovers his physical sight, but appears to have more sight and intelligence for the things of God than the Pharisees themselves.

In the world of the New Testament, Ephesus and Corinth, famous and outstanding cities for their culture and spiritual refinement. According to St. Paul, Christians are the children of light. The pagans of Ephesus belong, rather, to the kingdom of darkness, which must be uncovered to be illuminated by Christ. St. Paul says this about them: they believe they are light, but they live in the kingdom of darkness (lust, idolatry, shameless and immodest conversations). All this must be uncovered by the light of the word and of the authentic Christian life so that once in the open it will be penetrated by the light of Christ.

In our time, Christianity continues to be paradoxical and unpredictable. God continues to confound the wise and powerful, the great and the noble, through people who in human eyes are of no consequence and are insignificant. Brothers and sisters, God does not need the wise to change the world, God need saints. God need people who will transform the world by their goodness, their smile and their total generosity in giving of themselves. In this difficult moment in the history of the world and of our country, saints are needed to change the world. The world will not be healed by people who are always searching for recognition, to be seen, but it can only be healed by those who pray in silence. Let us not be afraid to appear as fools in the eyes of the learned and the intelligent. Let us allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of light. Let us not doubt ourselves by thinking that God has a selected few to use in his plan of saving the world. If you and I, do not dedicate ourselves to prayer during this time of pain and suffering, then we need to know that Light will not come to our world. We continue to pray today that God, our loving Father, may bring healing to our country, eSwatini and to the whole world.