Christ is our light and salvation

Fourth Sunday of Lent- Year A- Christ Our Light

In our democratic society, it is often the case that we vote for candidates based on our likes and expectations. At times, we look at certain qualities in a person and even the party he or she belongs to, or political manifestos before we make up our minds in elections. But in the case of God, he chooses not as humans do. He chooses to carry out his own purposes and does not look at human appearances. Whenever God has to choose somebody for a great mission, he seems to take pleasure at upsetting all the logical rules of common sense. God does not look at things and people through human eyes; people look at appearances, the Lord looks at the heart. If one listens to the voice of the Lord and accepts it in faith, one learns to look at the world and humankind throu\gh the eyes of God. This is exactly what happened when God sent Samuel to go to the house of Jesse to anoint for him a king. Jesse presented before Samuel all his prospective sons, with none of them chosen, he then brought in the youngest, David who was tending sheep in the fields. Immediately God directed Samuel to quickly anoint him king. In as much as the choice of David before his brothers serves to underline the freedom of divine election, our interest today is on how God uses human instruments in bringing about his will. He enlightened the mind of Samuel and directed him to anoint David. 

St. Augustine of Hippo in his theory of knowledge believed that the natural mind is incapable of knowing the truth unless helped by the light of faith. He emphasized divine illumination in which the mind needs to be enlightened by light from outside itself, so that it can participate in the truth, because it is not itself the nature of truth. Jesus would tell us: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12).” Jesus is the light of the world who opened the eyes of a man born blind. Just as in the anointing of David, God is the light that directed Samuel to anoint him as king, in the same way, Jesus is the Light of the world that made the man born blind to see clearly physically and spiritually to bear courageous witness to Jesus in defiance of the Pharisees, that Jesus is not a sinner, because God does not listen to sinners, but hears the devout who obey him. Through the light of Christ, the man continued that it is unheard of that anyone ever gave sight to a person blind from birth; insisting that if Jesus did not come from God, he could never have done such a thing (see John 9:31-33).

Hearing that they had thrown the man out, Jesus made further revelation of himself to the man who was blind, but now could see. The man intensified his faith in Jesus and worshipped him. As followers of Jesus Christ, we should pay close attention to his words that he came into this world for judgement, so that those who do not see might see, and those who claim to see might become blind. Jesus further told the Pharisees that if they were blind, they would have no sin, to claim to have been seeing makes their sins remain (John 9:35-41). What Jesus says is very true. He is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God to cleanse our consciences from dead works, in order to worship the living God; for which reason he is mediator of a new covenant (see Hebrews 9: 11-15). As mediator between God and mankind, Jesus prefers not to act in the immediate way, he chooses to act mostly in the mediated way, through sacramental signs to communicate graces and blessings to us. As light, he chooses to shine out on us through effective signs addressable to our senses to communicate the inward grace.

That is why in healing the man born blind he did not just wave his hands or ask him to just go with his command for him to get well. He spat on the ground, made mud with his saliva and smeared the man’s eyes with it. After that he sent him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. The man’s eyes were opened after he washed. This is exactly what Jesus does with us in every sacrament. Jesus uses the outward sign to communicate to us light and life through inward graces. He is present with us in power in every sacrament through which he gives himself to us his disciples. In this way, he wants to shine out through us to touch others with his life and graces. Today, St. Paul urges us, privileged to be disciples of Jesus to live as children of light which produces every kind of goodness and justice and truth (see Ephesians 5:8-14).