Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday)
By Marilyn Dunphy
We’ve all met them – people who just can’t or won’t be convinced or dissuaded of something no matter how strong the evidence. Whether they cling to a deeply held personal bias, a conspiracy theory gone viral on the internet, or a belief system that leaves no room for questioning or a different interpretation, they (we?) can be a frustrating lot to deal with.
So it was for Jesus in today’s Gospel message wherein Jesus cures a blind man. His disciples assumed, as was commonly believed, that someone sinned and thus caused the man’s blindness. Then in almost comical fashion some of the crowd and the Pharisees engaged in an exercise in contortion to deny that Jesus healed the man. The man could not have been blind from birth, or he was an imposter, or if he was blind and Jesus healed him then Jesus was not “from God.”
What they had just seen with their own eyes was so incompatible with what they believed to be true, it had to be explained away.
A related theme is presented in the first reading when Samuel assumed that the king of Israel would be chosen from among the seven sons of Jesse who were presented to Samuel. But God had other plans. In this case Samuel was open to the message of the Lord and sent for the youngest son, David, who had not even been brought to the ceremony. It was David, deemed unworthy by everyone else, whom the Lord chose.
“Not as people see does God see, because people see the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart”. (1 Samuel 16: 7)
On this Laetare Sunday we can rejoice that God indeed sees differently than we do. We can rejoice that we are created in God’s image and likeness; not the other way around. No matter how hard we try to force-fit God into our own worldview, God is waiting to open our eyes, minds and hearts to the mystery before us. God desires to free us from our tendency to distance ourselves from God when we perceive ourselves to be sinful or at least “not good enough.” God desires to shatter our shallow and sometimes self-serving notions of the worthiness or unworthiness of others. God desires to surprise and delight us with boundless love, life and light. If only we will “see.”
In what area(s) of your life might you like God to heal any beliefs, attitudes or emotions that inhibit your acceptance of God’s unconditional love?
Do you sometimes find yourself judging others as “unworthy” because they do not meet your expectations in some regard? Perhaps you can pray for the grace to see more as God sees.