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Pastor's Letter 20230319 - 19 March 2023 - Christ--The Light of the World

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March 19th, 2023

Fourth Sunday of Lent


A Message from Father Michael

Today’s Theme:

“Christ, the Light of the World”

Reflections on Today’s Scripture

(Samuel 15:1-13)  By our Baptism, we are anointed and set apart for a great mission.

Today’s text shows how Samuel, in anointing David, performed the customary ritual of “consecration” in the ancient Near Eastern world.  God chose David, the least of Jesse’s sons, to be king of Israel.  While most people look at “appearances,” God sees “the heart.”  Spiritual anointing set a person apart for a special task, and signified the presence of the Lord’s Spirit, within them.  David’s anointing affirmed his loyalty by a pact with God, and a sign of his veneration and allegiance to Him.  Through Baptism’s anointing, the Christian is empowered by God’s Spirit for the special task of reflecting the light of Jesus Christ in a world darkened by sin. 


(Ephesians 5:8-14)  Dark, secret, sinful deeds have no place in the life of an enlightened believer.

Paul told the Ephesians that since Christ has enlightened them, they must adopt a lifestyle in keeping with their new state.  Conversion to Jesus Christ was expressed in many vivid metaphors in the New Testament, to wit: changing clothes; putting on a new person; putting on armor; and in this Reading, as moving from darkness to light.  Each one involves turning away from sin; shielding oneself from temptation; divestiture, and rejection, of all that is not in keeping with the teaching of Jesus Christ


(John 9:1-41)  There is no greater blindness than self-deception.

The cure of the blind man was the sixth of seven “signs” in John's Gospel.  Jesus, the Light of the World, not only gives sight to those physically blind, but give the “light of faith” to the spiritually blind.  Christ’s wondrous deeds were signs that pointed to a greater reality, within which, one was to perceive a glimpse of what would actually take place when Jesus’ “hour” had come at last.  In the words and works of Jesus, “light” conquers the darkness.  Significantly, the blind man’s sight and faith are ironically contrasted to the lack of sight of the Pharisees—who had “the Law,” the prophets and the writings, but could not hear the Word.  They were the holy ones, of their day, but they did not believe!  The early Church borrowed the healing gestures of Jesus—the breath of the Spirit and the anointing—that became part of the Baptismal Liturgy, still in use today.  The early Church called the sacrament of Baptism “enlightening,” or “illuminating,” through which the Christian shares in the radiant light of Christ’s glory and truth.  As we heard in last week’s Gospel, Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the “Source of water” for the thirsty believer.  

The Gift of Sight

Since most of us are not blind, we might think today’s Gospel story has no relevance for us.  But it is precisely that we can see that it is germane.  It raises the question, “how well do we see?”  

To see well, good eyesight alone is not sufficient.  “Blindness” is not only an affliction of the eyes!  Many forms of blindness affect us.  For instance:

Selfishness blinds us to the needs of others.

Insensitivity blinds us to the hurt we cause others.

Snobbery blinds us to others’ equal dignity.

Pride blinds us to our own faults.

Prejudice blinds us to the truth.

Impatience blinds us to the world’s beauty.

Materialism blinds us to spiritual values.

Superficiality blinds us to a person’s true worth, and causes us to judge ‘by appearances.”

We see, not only with our eyes, but with our minds, hearts and imagination.  All these can lead to a loss of vision, thereby darkening our lives and shrinking our world.

It has been said that the greatest tragedy is not to have been born blind, but “to have eyes, and yet, fail to see”.  Our most important “eyes” are the “eyes of faith.”  The smallest child with faith sees more than the smartest scientist who has no faith….  

A blind person’s journey from blindness to sight symbolizes the journey from unbelief to faith—a journey from darkness to light.  Physical sight is a wonderful gift most of us take for granted.  But faith is an even more profound and wonderful gift.

Once a person is enlightened by faith, they can never again see life in the same light as before.  Faith illuminates everything with an inner radiance and helps us find our way through the chaos, confusion and darkness of the modern world.  It makes our lives voyages of discovery and helps us see “new landscapes,” with “new eyes.”

On that subject, I am reminded of what Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “The fool wonders at the unusual; the wise person wonders at the usual.”  We see this exemplified in the occasional commotion caused by an eclipse of the moon, the anticipation of which gathers interest in the media, with people staying awake, sometimes until the “wee hours” to witness it.  One wonders, “Why should there be all this interest in the moon, simply because it is disappearing?”  Considering that most of us don’t notice a full moon in the sky, much less stop to admire it, how can its absence create such anticipation?  

We must cultivate an appreciation of all the wonder around us—we must “stop and smell the roses,” as it were—and not be so concerned by extraordinary and infrequent occurrences.  

It's the Heart that Matters

Today, it seems that “appearance” is more important than “substance.”  One’s “image” is more important than their “reality,” and, because we sometimes look only at appearances, we judge by appearances.  A line from The Little Prince, goes: “What is essential, is invisible.”  Everything that makes up the essence of a person’s life is usually hidden from sight.  

This was the situation about which we heard in today’s First Reading, when Samuel chose David to be Israel’s king.  Samuel saw that David’s heart “was good,” and he had “fine eyes and a pleasant bearing.”  Further, we know that history has cited him to have been a “good king;” but it also points out his imperfections.  When he sinned, (and he did so, grievously,) he always repented.  In addition, also noteworthy was his ability to forgive his enemies.  Also significant, several times in the Gospel, Jesus is called “Son of David”—meant as a compliment. 

David’s heart was “good.”  In the final analysis, that is what matters most in a person.  A “dark heart,” or an “empty heart” is something that shows the greatest poverty in a person’s character.  We all know the burden of having a “heavy heart,” and a “broken heart” in our own lives.  

So, while humans tend to look at appearances, God looks at the heart, and sees what is “in” it.  That is why only God can truly judge people.  

May God Richly Bless You!


Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.docx

To View a Recording of Today's Holy Mass, click here:  



Edited by Father Michael
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