March 18-19: Preparing to Celebrate Sunday’s Mass

The Catholic Scripture readings for Sunday Masses rotate on a three-year cycle. The present year is called Year A and it offers us an interesting selection of readings for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Sundays of Lent: the Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4, 3-42); the Man Born Blind (John 9, 1-41); and the Raising of Lazarus (John 11, 1-41).

Regardless of where the Sunday readings come from in the Bible, they are always a “revelation” of God. Every time we read and hear the living (and life-giving) Word of God it is God speaking to us (and this is true both in Mass and outside of Mass). The Scriptures are not a “story book.” They are, indeed, revelation. They are alive. We do not read/hear a mere history book or a book of old tales about what Jesus did way back when. These words of the Lord also speak of what is happening now, where we are, and of what is happening in our lives. In some way or other, we can always find our place in these Biblical accounts.


This weekend, in John 9, 1-41 (the Man Born Blind), we will read a familiar, long story about a man, a healing miracle, a big controversy that erupted with Pharisees and the man’s parents, and how the man became a follower of Jesus. And then we can go home and settle down into the usual Sunday afternoon routine. Or, we could look for another option! There is something more in John 9 than “an old story told from two thousand years ago.” Returning home unchanged would be a disservice to this Gospel account.

The healing of this man (and all that surrounds the healing) is not a story told merely to impress us with the power of Jesus Christ. It is a story told about people who say they see, but really do not see. It is a story about faith and light, reminding us that we do not see anything without light; we do not see anything without Christ.

Our present Lenten season is inviting us to change, if we must, to have a faith like the blind man’s faith: a faith that emerges gradually, grows stronger, and grows more refined. Lent is also inviting us to accept the light of Christ, the light which allows us see where we are, where we want to go, and where He is leading us.

In the end, we are asked to find our place in this Biblical account. For example, the works of God are made visible through our works, the voice of God is made audible through our voices, and the life of God is made known by how we live our faith. This coming week, we might want to pay closer attention to what our works really look like, what our voices sound like, and what our witness to the faith does for us and for others … after all, they too must find a place in this reading.

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