Sunday, March 30, 2014
Fourth Sunday of Lent
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
Even though my high school yearbook did not name the graduate “most likely to succeed,” most of us were certain who that would be. As we looked forward to our high school reunion, we assumed that Joe would surely have been a success in life. We didn’t expect that Bob would be the CEO for a large corporation or that Sharon would be a state senator. As a matter of fact, no one dreamed that I would be working for the Church. At times like these, we become aware that life is about surprises.
As people finally told their stories at the reunion, the only thing that was clear was that most of us did not arrive at our place in life by following a plan. If we had road maps at all, they did not lead where we thought they would. Today’s liturgy tells that sort of story too.
In the First Reading, we hear how Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel so that he could choose a king. God rejected all of them and from out of the fields called for David who was tending the sheep. David's own father could not imagine that his youngest son would be chosen to be king.
The Gospel then tells the story of a person that others saw as destined to sit in blindness and beg. But Jesus gave sight to the blind man. Now the beggar was physically equal to all others in the community. But the Lord did still more. He sought out the blind man so that he could give him the "insight" that led to faith. Now the beggar had succeeded far beyond the expectations of the crowd. He who begged from others had a gift he could give them.
We have heard this story often and what God did in those days may no longer surprise us. As we mature, we realize that God’s plans for us are not over. None of us knows what the Lord has in mind for us. The Epistle reminds us to move out of our lethargy, to live as God's chosen ones--to actively engage in life, to live in the light so that Christ can shine on us—so that God can surprise us again and again.
At this Eucharist, we remember that God has chosen us. We have been gifted with faith and marked for eternal success. Why us? We do not know. There are others who are smarter than we. There are many more attractive and appealing. Yet, we are the ones who have been chosen. We gather today to proclaim that the Lord has let his face shine upon us. Like the man given new sight, we need courage to proclaim the wonders the Lord has worked in us. This courage comes from those who gather with us to announce that Jesus is Lord.