Fourth Sunday in Lent
March 19, 2023
Three great stories in the Gospel of John have for centuries served as Scriptural instructions for those preparing for baptism. Hello, I’m Franciscan Father Greg Friedman and this is the Sunday Soundbite for the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
Last week we heard the story of the Samaritan woman; next week that of Lazarus. Today, the “man born blind” takes center stage. In Catholic parishes today, candidates for baptism stand before us, perhaps picturing themselves as the man in the story.
For the early Church, “illumination” was a theme of baptism. Saint Augustine suggested that the man born blind stood for the whole human race, needing to see the light of Christ. The late Scripture scholar Father Raymond Brown notes that the man undergoes testing or questioning by various individuals after he is “enlightened.” His witness develops until he finally encounters Jesus a second time and professes his faith. It’s symbolic of how our faith grows through choices we make in life.
Father Brown also notes how those around the man are affected by his initial encounter with Jesus. Some come to faith; others are hardened in their rejection of Jesus. No one remains indifferent, it seems.
How do we witness to Jesus? Can people detect the light of Christ shining in us? If not, perhaps part of our Lenten activity might involve a self-scrutiny, and some steps toward enlightenment.