Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year A (RCIA)
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6 (1)
March 14, 2021
Samuel was a prophet in the days of King Saul. Saul was not a good king. So, God chose to appoint a new king. He sent Samuel to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons as the new king.
As the sons come forward, Samuel saw Eliab and thought he must be the one. Samuel thought this based on Eliab’s appearance and lofty stature.
“But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”
Jesse presented seven sons but none were the one chosen. Then Jesse sent for his youngest son David. David “was ruddy, a youth, handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance” but none of this was what the Lord chose him for. The Lord chose David knowing what was in heart, a love for the Lord. Samuel anointed David and “the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.”
How do we look at others? What is it that we see? Do we see with the light of the Lord?
We hear of Jesus’ encounter with the man born blind. As they near the man born blind, Jesus’ disciples ask him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind.” The Jewish understanding, the way they saw things was that if you were suffering, it was punishment for some sin you had committed. So, the disciples naturally assume either the man or his parents must have sinned.
Jesus provides a different explanation, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.” Yes, God had a purpose for the man’s blindness but it was not for punishment. It was to change the way people see things. Jesus brings light to the situation.
Jesus then “spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” – which means Sent -. So he went and washed, and came back able to see.”
Jesus healed the man in a way no one would expect. This is not a human way of healing blindness. Jesus did it this way to show the power of God at work in him.
The miracle takes only seven verses. However, there are 34 verses that follow to help the people see what is really going on.
When his neighbors see the man born blind has been healed, they ask him, “How were your eyes opened?” He responds by telling them how Jesus anointed his eyes with clay (interesting that he calls it “anointing”).
Then, they take the man to the Pharisees who ask the same question, “how he was able to see.” He tells them what Jesus did. However, they refuse to see Jesus for who He really is. In fact, they say, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath.” Others respond to the Pharisees words, “How can a sinful man do such signs?” These people may not understand it all but they see great significance in what Jesus has done.
However, many did not believe. They went to the parents of the man born blind to confirm it is him, probably hoping they would say the man there is not their son so they can discredit Jesus. The parents confirm the man there is their son who was born blind.
The people continue to try to discredit Jesus as a sinner. They refuse to see. However, because of their actions, the man born blind has been reflecting on his healing and what the people has said. He says to them, “If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see.” He knows that a miracle has been done and sees that means something.
The Jews continue to try to discredit Jesus, saying, “we do not know where this one is from.” The man responds, “This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes.”
The man’s eyes have been opened physically and his heart has been opened to see that Jesus is from God or else “he would not be able to do anything.”
The people continue to refuse to listen. They thought they knew what was going on but instead, because of their closed hearts, they were blind while the man born blind comes to see as God sees.
The man’s blindness was healed when Jesus anointed him. Knowing the power of Jesus’ anointing, we have the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. This Sacrament is more about the healing of the man’s heart to see as God sees than it is about physical healing. Still, the oil is a sign of healing.
We have various types of anointings in our Sacraments. In fact, four of our seven Sacraments use oil as a sign of God’s grace.
Besides the Anointing of the Sick, in Baptism we are anointed with the Sacred Chrism as the Holy Spirit comes upon us. We are sealed with the same oil in Confirmation. Bishops and Priests are anointed in their ordination.
We are all made children of God in Baptism and strengthened with the Spirit at Confirmation. God wants us to see as He sees. Do you open your heart to see with the Light of Christ?