We thank Father Leonard Peterson for the following Reflection for March 22, 2020, The 4th Sunday of Lent

Please visit: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/032220.cfm to see this weekend’s readings listed below:

Reading I: I Samuel 16: 1b, 6-7, 10-13a
God chooses David, Jesse’s youngest son, to be His anointed one, and Samuel complies. This story also contains an element of fear of Saul.

Reading II: Ephesians 5: 8-14
There is a clear contrast made between Christian and pagan life, in terms of light and darkness.

The Gospel: John 9: 1-41
The essence of the “sixth sign” is not simply that a man’s sight is restored, but that light is given to one who has never had it. The Pharisees ironically illustrate true blindness, not of the eyes but of the heart.

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The poet Ogden Nash definitely displayed his sense of humor when he interpreted a major truth of the Bible when he composed these pithy lines:
How odd
of God
to choose
the Jews.

Lest my purpose of quoting Nash be misconstrued, the word “odd” here simply means “differing in nature from what is ordinary, usual or expected.” Among the other nations existing at the time, God could have made other choices from among the more dominant and sophisticated ones like Egypt, Assyria or Babylon. Instead he chose the Jews, with their relatively insignificant numbers; their odd monotheism, and their demanding ethics. They became, and remain God’s chosen people. We must remember that among their number are Joseph and Mary and Jesus; the Twelve Apostles; and Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist among others.
Within their little nation, the Jews made class distinctions. The religiously educated, such as the Pharisees and Sadducees, were assumed to be holier and therefore superior in many ways to the ordinary folk. Evidence of this appears in the famous Johannine story of the unnamed blind man, read this year in the “A” cycle of Scripture Readings. The story is one of John’s “signs” or miracle stories, all featuring proofs of Jesus’ powers and identity. It also offers us good evidence that God’s choices usually differ from our own. We might never have picked a blind beggar as an example of an evangelist, which he became.
This whole matter of God’s choices at variance with ours is sprinkled so liberally all through both Testaments that we can safely call it a biblical theme. This weekend’s First Reading story of God’s choosing “ruddy and handsome young David, the baby of Jesse’s family” as Saul’s successor. We might well have picked one of the older more experienced sons. The Gospel story is complimentary to this one, as happens by design.
As we listen again to all the trials the stubborn Pharisees put the poor former blind man through without any joy expressed over his healing it becomes obvious who the really blind people are. We get a significant clue as to what we can expect when we choose to respond to our baptism and witness to t Jesus in our very secular culture. Just try explaining to a non-practicing Catholic why you do. Or even the reaction to the same from your own family.
Honest introspection inevitably leads us to conclude how odd of God it is that He chooses us to be His spokespersons. But that’s exactly what He has done. The question arises: what are we going to do about it?
How will we express your belief to various people? At times, will we speak pr be silent, especially when silence is enough? Will you act or not? Will you be careful to think before speaking?
Here is a practical thought from the motivational speaker Tony Robbins. “If you talk about it, it’s a dream; if you envision it, it’s possible; but if you schedule it, then it is real.”