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4th Lent A

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Dear brothers and sisters,

Let us walk in the light.

Fr. Cielo

Published in: Spiritual
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  • 1. Welcome to our Bible Study 4th Sunday of Lent A 30 March 2014 In preparation for this Sunday’s Liturgy In aid of focusing our homilies and sharing
  • 2. 1st reading: 1 Samuel 16:1.6-7.10-13  1The LORD said to Samuel: "Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons."  6 As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD'S anointed is here before him." 7 But the LORD said to Samuel: "Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart."  10 In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen any one of these."  11 Then Samuel asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" Jesse replied, "There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep." Samuel said to Jesse, "Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here." 12 Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said, "There-- anoint him, for this is he!" 13 Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah. The focus is on the anointing of David as king.
  • 3. 1st reading: 1 Samuel 16:1.6-7.10-13  1The LORD said to Samuel: "Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from among his sons."  6 As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD'S anointed is here before him." 7 But the LORD said to Samuel: "Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart."  10 In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen any one of these." Commentary  In v.1, God asks the prophet Samuel (last of the judges) to anoint the second king of Israel. The first is Saul.  The next king will be a son of Jesse of Bethlehem.  In v.6, Samuel immediately assumed that Eliab, one of the sons of Jesse, will be anointed because of his good looks.  But in v.7, God clarifies that he has not chosen Eliab.  God teaches Samuel that God does not judge by appearances, but looks into the heart.  V.10 repeats God’s standards.
  • 4. 1st reading: 1 Samuel 16:1.6-7.10-13  11 Then Samuel asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" Jesse replied, "There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep." Samuel said to Jesse, "Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he arrives here." 12 Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid appearance. The LORD said, "There-- anoint him, for this is he!" 13 Then Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David. When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.  In v.11, possibilities seem to have      been exhausted. But there is one more son somewhere out in the fields tending the sheep. Jesse calls for him. V.12 describes the son as ruddy, young, handsome, splendid appearance. Aba! We thought God is not interested in external appearances. Maybe this boy has a good heart. He is a good material to rule Israel. God commands Samuel to anoint him. In v.13, Samuel obeys. The spirit of the Lord, through the anointing, rushes upon David.
  • 5. Reflections on the 1st reading  When choosing leaders, God looks at the heart.  God judges not by appearances but by the heart.  We must not be too preoccupied with our external appearances.  We must be concerned more about what is inside us.  Do we have a loving heart? Are we compassionate?  Can we rule our families with love and devotion?
  • 6. Resp. Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6  R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.  1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; 3a he refreshes my soul.  3b He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side With your rod and your staff that give me courage.  5 You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  6 Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.
  • 7. Resp. Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6  R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.  1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; 3a he refreshes my soul.    3b He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side With your rod and your staff that give me courage. 5 You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. Commentary  V.1 affirms that God is a good shepherd.  Vv.2-4a enumerate what God does as a shepherd in the third person:     He gives me repose (rest), v.2a He leads me beside restful waters, v.2b He refreshes my soul, v.3a He guides me, v. 3b  Vv.4-5 enumerate what God does in the second person:     You are at my side, I don’t fear. V.4 Your rod and staff give me courage. V.4 You spread the table… v.5a You anoint my head… v.5b  In v.6, the psalmist feels assured / safe all the days of his life.
  • 8. Reflections on the Psalm  God is a good provider.  God shows us the way where we can get sustenance.  God guides us.  With his wisdom and might, he protects us.  Can you appropriate this Psalm?  Can you say to yourself, “God is my shepherd?”  Say it now.
  • 9. 2nd reading: Ephesians 5:8-14  8 Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, 9 for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. 10 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, 12 for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." The focus is living in the light.
  • 10. 2nd reading: Ephesians 5:8-14  8 Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, 9 for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. 10 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, 12 for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light." Commentary  The author reminds Christians that they are now the light. So they have to live in the light, out of which come goodness, righteousness and truth. Vv.8-9.  V.10 commands us to seek ways to please God.  There is no clear formula to please God. It is a matter of discernment.  In v.11, to live in the light is to avoid participating in the works of darkness (sinful acts), which do not produce any good.  “Expose them” is an imperative to put them to the light (to stop them, to correct them)
  • 11. 2nd reading: Ephesians 5:8-14  8 Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, 9 for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. 10 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, 12 for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."  V.12 says that things done in     darkness, even in secret, are shameful. They are things to be ashamed of. Vv.13-14 return to the theme of light. Light is a powerful antidote to those who live in darkness. Light puts everything into good light. Those in darkness are described to be “sleepers” and “dead.” Christ is the giver of light to those who are asleep but choose to arise from darkness…
  • 12. Reflections on the 2nd reading  Christians should choose to live in the light.  We must do everything to please God.  We do not do shameful acts, even if done in secret or private.  Christians must also be prophetic. They expose the works of darkness.
  • 13. Gospel reading: John 9:1-41  1 As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him. 4 We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. 5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." Commentary  The reading revolves around the blind man.  Jesus’ disciples ask whose sin caused his      blindness from birth, his or his parents. V.2 Jesus’ answer is neither: he is blind that the works of God be made visible through him. V.3 Jesus affirms his mission to do the works of his Father while it is day, meaning while he is still in the world. V.4 In John’s gospel, we must seek the deeper meaning of light, in contrast to darkness.  Darkness means being blind, presence of sin, night, cannot work.  Light means ability to see, makes the works of God visible. Jesus himself is the light of the world. V.5 He will make the blind man see the light / to see him.
  • 14.  Jesus prepares to make a miracle. V.6 He spits on the ground.  He makes clay with his saliva.  He smears the clay on the man’s eyes. Why all these unusual actions? Ground and clay remind us of the creation of human beings in Genesis. There was no saliva involved in the creation, but breathe. These elements are used for healing now. Jesus commands him to wash in the Pool of Siloam. V.7 The man obeys and comes back able to see. There is immediate effect on the actions (works) of Jesus and his obedience.   6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, 7 and said to him, "Go wash in the Pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see.       
  • 15.  8 His neighbors and those who had seen him earlier as a beggar said, "Isn't this the one who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some said, "It is," but others said, "No, he just looks like him." He said, "I am."  10 So they said to him, "(So) how were your eyes opened?" 11 He replied, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' So I went there and washed and was able to see." 12 And they said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I don't know." 13 They brought the one who was once blind to the Pharisees.  The healing of the blind starts another controversy on the man’s identity. His neighbors and others who witness, ask:  Isn’t he the beggar? V.8  Doesn’t he look like him? V.9  The man (identified as beggar) affirms that he is the one and the same person who was blind but now can see. V.9  In v.10, they pose another question “How were your eyes opened?” to which he answers repeating what Jesus has done to him and what he has done in obedience to him.  In v.12, they pose another question. “Where is he?”, meaning Jesus.  V.13 says that they bring the man, once blind, to the Pharisees. Why?  The controversy builds up.  They make the problem bigger.
  • 16.  14 Now Jesus had made clay and opened his eyes on a sabbath. 15 So then the Pharisees also asked him how he was able to see. He said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and now I can see.“  16 So some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, because he does not keep the sabbath." (But) others said, "How can a sinful man do such signs?" And there was a division among them.  True enough, the controversy      escalates. V.14 adds one more element that heats up the issue: the sabbath. The Pharisees ask the same question. The man repeats his answer. V.15 The Pharisees discredit the one who healed him as one not coming from God because he does not keep the sabbath. This brings division between those who believe that the healer comes from God, and those who do not, like the Pharisees. V.16
  • 17.  The Pharisees induce him to  17 So they said to the blind man again, "What do you have to say about him, since he opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." say something about Jesus, by posing another question.  The man’s answer affirms that Jesus is a prophet, meaning he comes from God. He could not have his eyes open if he does not come from God.  Certainly, his answer will create an outrage among the Pharisees, the guardians of the law.
  • 18.  18 Now the Jews did not believe that he had been blind and gained his sight until they summoned the parents of the one who had gained his sight. 19 They asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How does he now see?" 20 His parents answered and said, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 We do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him, he is of age; he can speak for him self."  In v.18, the subject is the Jews,     not the Pharisees, although they are included there. In v.18, the Jews discredit the man who was once blind, but now sees. They call his parents. Now their questioning takes a toll on his parents, who have been quiet. They pose the same question on the parents. The parents affirm what their son / the blind man, has been claiming.
  • 19.  22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone acknowledged him as the Messiah, he would be expelled from the synagogue. 23 For this reason his parents said, "He is of age; question him."  The author tries to explain the predicament of his parents.  They are afraid.  They want to evade the question.   By answering, they also may reveal their dangerous position. They might make a mistake in acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah.
  • 20.  24 So a second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, "Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner." 25 He replied, "If he is a sinner, I do not know. One thing I do know is that I was blind and now I see." 26 So they said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" 27 He answered them, "I told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?"  The Jews try to brainwash the man,     that the one who opened his eyes is a sinner. The man does not agree with them. He sticks to his facts and does not agree with the Jews. Again the Jews ask the same question. Now the man shows discomfort. He asks irritating questions:  Why do you want to hear it again?  Do you want to become his disciples? He wants to stop their investigation which is leading nowhere but the condemnation of Jesus.
  • 21.  28 They ridiculed him and said, "You are that man's disciple; we are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but we do not know where this one is from."  The Jews react.  They claim they belong to a better / surer affinity:  To Moses, to whom God spoke  The man belongs:  To the unknown man, uncertain where he comes from.
  • 22.  30 The man answered and said to them, "This is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if one is devout and does his will, he listens to him. 32 It is unheard of that anyone ever opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything." 34 They answered and said to him, "You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?" Then they threw him out.  Now the man fights back.  He accuses the Jews of making wrong conclusions. They are not reading, interpreting the event correctly.  He profounds his theology: God does not listen to sinners.  He expands his understanding on Jesus:  Jesus is not a sinner.  Jesus does the will of God.  He comes from God, that’s why he can do everything.  The Jews (Pharisees) assert their authority. They feel insulted.  They condemn him.  They disqualify him as one who can also teach.  They throw him out. They become violent.
  • 23.  35 When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" 36 He answered and said, "Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" 37 Jesus said to him, "You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he." 38 He said, "I do believe, Lord," and he worshiped him. 39 Then Jesus said, "I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind."  At this moment of rejection, Jesus comes to        him again. Jesus talks to him after all the suspicious questionings of the Jews. It is Jesus’ turn. He asks if he believes in the Son of Man. Now Jesus is presented, not just as a prophet, Messiah, but the Son of Man. The man believes in the Son of Man and Jesus reveals himself to be he. The man worships him. V.39 forms the conclusion. Jesus comes to bring judgment into the world:  Making the blind see (and those who see, blind). Jesus takes care of his believers by allowing them to see.
  • 24.  40 Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not also blind, are we?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, 'We see,' so your sin remains.  Some of the Pharisees react but on a different level.  Jesus stays put in his position that the Pharisees are not innocent. They claim they see, but are blind.  They live in sin.  Jesus is the judge. He is the authority who can say whether one is a sinner or not.
  • 25. Reflections on the gospel reading  The gospel story unconditionally invites us to believe in Jesus.  We ask God to heal our blindness.  We are called to see the light.  The light is Jesus as the messiah (anointed).  We live in darkness if we reject Jesus.  We should also be prepared to answer the questionings of those who don’t believe.  This is the sterling time to give witness to the light.
  • 26. Tying the 3 readings and the Psalm  The first reading is about the anointing of David as shepherd-king of Israel.  The psalm talks about God as a shepherd who anoints.  The second reading is about living in the light.  The gospel reading is accepting Jesus as the Messiah (anointed). We should adopt the theme of light in our preaching.
  • 27. How to develop your homily / sharing  The message of this Sunday’s liturgy for us, Christians, is to live in the light.  The conversion that the Season of Lent is asking us is to live in the light.  What is to live in the light?  When do we know we are living in the light?
  • 28.  To live in the light, the first reading encourages us to use     the optic of God to consider our brothers and sisters. We should not get stuck with external appearances, when we are choosing our leaders. There is more to external looks. We must be able to appreciate the other by looking at the heart, which we can do if we, too, use our hearts. We are challenged to relate with one another, heart to heart, to consider our core values. That is living in the light.
  • 29.  The second reading teaches that we, Christians, are      now living in the light of Christ. Before we became Christians, we were living in darkness. As Christians who have received the light, we must do our prophetic work. We expose those in darkness and their works. We give light to ward off the elements of darkness. It is our task to make all the inhabitants on this earth live in light. Living in the light is to boldly expose the evil deeds of others.
  • 30.  The gospel reading affirms that Jesus is the light of the world.  As the light of the world, Jesus opens the eyes of the blind man.  He enables the man to acknowledge him before the Pharisees as the Son of God and the Messiah.  We, too, must acknowledge Jesus as our light and Messiah.
  • 31.  How do we know if we are living in the light or not?  One can be blinded by his fixation, old beliefs and comforts, by wealth, power and popularity.  Living in darkness (blindness) is manifested in sinful living.  Living without morals, without moderation, without love for others, without respect for others, without compassion, without truth and freedom and God.  Living in darkness means emphasis on externals and on trivial things.  Living in darkness is living in sin.
  • 32.  In the eucharist, Jesus radiates in us and overcomes the forces of darkness in us. He comes to heal our blindness.  In the eucharist, Jesus sees the deepest recesses of our hearts.  In the eucharist, Jesus allows us to see more and appreciate more the things around us.
  • 33. Our Context of Sin and Grace  Judges by appearances  Very conscious of one’s looks  Unable to give up vices and sinful lifestyle  Loose morals  Living in the light  Morally upright  Organizations for the Blind
  • 34. Suggested Songs  Biyayang Mula Sa iyo  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxbmC_LVJrQ  Walk in the Light  Light  The Lord is My Shepherd  My Light and My Salvation  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ekQdpjS4VA
  • 35. Signs of the Times  Radiation levels increased  Unrest in Yemen  Demonstrations in England  People more prepared for catastrophes

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