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3/15/2012 10:50:00 AM
Faith is always a gift

Mary Jo Tully
Chancellor, Archdiocese of Portland


Fourth Sunday of Lent
(Readings for use with the RCIA) 
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6–7, 10–13a 
Ephesians 5:8–14
John 9:1–41 or 9:1,6-9,13-17,34-38
  
“Pick me” echoed in every second grade student’s heart whenever Sister chose someone to clean the erasers or when teams were chosen for baseball or spelling bees. We knew who would be chosen first for an athletic team or a spelling bee but we never knew who would get to clean the erasers or why that person was chosen. It could have been Sister’s pet or it might have been the student she thought needed a morale boost. In any case, it was always a surprise. 
 In the First Reading, we hear how God surprised both Jesse and Samuel. Both were certain they knew whom the Lord would choose to be king. But God had other plans. From out of the fields, the Lord called a young boy whose only preparation for life was tending sheep.
David’s own father could not imagine that his youngest son would be chosen to be king.
Why me? That’s a question all of us ask when we contemplate our faith. Surely it is a question the catechumens are asking as they approach their Baptisms.
It is interesting that Jesus would suggest that the man in today’s Gospel was born blind so God might make himself visible through him. Could this be why we have been given faith—so that Christ might be seen in us?
 The blind man did not ask for faith. He did not even think to ask for sight. It was Jesus who took the initiative. But the response of the Pharisees and the response of the blind man were totally different from each other. “I do believe, Lord,” the blind man said.  
Like the blind man, we sometimes wonder why we have been especially chosen. Others who seem more worthy do not believe. Why have we been given the gift of faith? There is no answer but love. We are the community Jesus has called to waken from sleep. We are the ones upon whom his light shines. The magnitude of this gift brings us to our knees in worship even as it gathers us to celebrate the liturgy today.
 His initial flash of faith is significant but not enough. He comes to see who Jesus is only after increased questioning and hostility. What seems to occur in only a few hours encapsulates what most of us experience throughout our lives on our slow journey toward faith.  For most, the seed of our faith is planted very early in life but only through a series of confrontations with life and doubt and trial do we come to announce with real faith, “I do believe, Lord.”
Fourth Sunday of Lent
(Readings for use with the RCIA) 
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6–7, 10–13a 
Ephesians 5:8–14
John 9:1–41 or 9:1,6-9,13-17,34-38
  
“Pick me” echoed in every second grade student’s heart whenever Sister chose someone to clean the erasers or when teams were chosen for baseball or spelling bees. We knew who would be chosen first for an athletic team or a spelling bee but we never knew who would get to clean the erasers or why that person was chosen. It could have been Sister’s pet or it might have been the student she thought needed a morale boost. In any case, it was always a surprise. 


 In the First Reading, we hear how God surprised both Jesse and Samuel. Both were certain they knew whom the Lord would choose to be king. But God had other plans. From out of the fields, the Lord called a young boy whose only preparation for life was tending sheep.
David’s own father could not imagine that his youngest son would be chosen to be king.
Why me? That’s a question all of us ask when we contemplate our faith. Surely it is a question the catechumens are asking as they approach their Baptisms.
It is interesting that Jesus would suggest that the man in today’s Gospel was born blind so God might make himself visible through him. Could this be why we have been given faith—so that Christ might be seen in us?
 The blind man did not ask for faith. He did not even think to ask for sight. It was Jesus who took the initiative. But the response of the Pharisees and the response of the blind man were totally different from each other. “I do believe, Lord,” the blind man said.  
Like the blind man, we sometimes wonder why we have been especially chosen. Others who seem more worthy do not believe. Why have we been given the gift of faith? There is no answer but love. We are the community Jesus has called to waken from sleep. We are the ones upon whom his light shines. The magnitude of this gift brings us to our knees in worship even as it gathers us to celebrate the liturgy today.
 His initial flash of faith is significant but not enough. He comes to see who Jesus is only after increased questioning and hostility. What seems to occur in only a few hours encapsulates what most of us experience throughout our lives on our slow journey toward faith.  For most, the seed of our faith is planted very early in life but only through a series of confrontations with life and doubt and trial do we come to announce with real faith, “I do believe, Lord.”




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