Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Fourth Sunday of LentA

Sunday of the 4 LentA

 

Readings: 1 Sam 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41 (9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38).

1/ Reading I: RSV 1 Samuel 16:1 The LORD said to Samuel, I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons." 6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD’S anointed is before him." 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart." 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen these." 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" And he said, "There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep." And Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he comes here." 12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. And the LORD said, "Arise, anoint him; for this is he." 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.

2/ Reading II: RSV Ephesians 5:8 for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; 13 but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. 14 Therefore it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light."

3/ Gospel: RSV John 9:1 As he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." 6 As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, 7 saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, "Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some said, "It is he"; others said, "No, but he is like him." He said, "I am the man." 10 They said to him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" 11 He answered, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, `Go to Siloam and wash'; so I went and washed and received my sight." 12 They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know." 13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. 15 The Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, "He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see." 16 Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" There was a division among them. 17 So they again said to the blind man, "What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet." 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight, 19 and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" 20 His parents answered, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; 21 but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself." 22 His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if any one should confess him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore his parents said, "He is of age, ask him." 24 So for the 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 answered, "Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know that though I was blind, now I see." 26 They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" 27 He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become his disciples?" 28 And they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from." 30 The man answered, "Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." 34 They answered him, "You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?" And they cast him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of man?" 36 He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" 37 Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you." 38 He said, "Lord, I believe"; and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind." 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, "Are we also blind?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, `We see,' your guilt remains.

 


I. THEME: Light and darkness, sight and blindness

            People have eyes; but it doesn’t mean they would see because there are many things happened around them that they don’t see. For examples, there are so many God’s wonderful works displayed before their eyes, some still don’t recognize His existence and believe in Him. There are so many favors which parents have done for their children so that they become what they are now; many children still don’t recognize the favors and continue to live ungracefully as though they never happened.

            Today readings center on the theme people must recognize and evaluate all things according to God’s standards. In the first reading, the author of the First Book of Samuel reported the event God selects David to be the king of Israel. God sees through the heart and disregards the appearance while the prophet Samuel paid attention to the appearance because he can’t see the beauty of a human mind. In the second reading, St. Paul advised the Ephesians to live a new life in Christ because he not only knew the dangers of their old life but also the benefits of the new life when they let Christ’s word guide their life. In the Gospel, the author of the Fourth Gospel not only reported a miracle in which Jesus healed a man born blind, but also wanted to highlight the progress of his faith in his recognition of Jesus’ identity and believing in him. Beside his progress is the gradually becoming blindness of the Jews who pride themselves on their sight and knowing about God; but denied Jesus who is sent by God and the miracle.

II. ANALYSIS

1/ Reading I: “For man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

1.1/ The prophet Samuel evaluated the candidate according to his appearance: When the Lord deposed Saul, the Israelites’ first king, because of his disobedience, He sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem to anoint one of his children to replace Saul.

            When Jesse introduced Eliab, his first son, Samuel thinks he is the one whom God wants to be the king before he is Jesse’s first-born and has a high stature of a king; but God let Samuel know Eliab didn’t have qualities according to God’s standards. He said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." Then, Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but the prophet said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen these."

1.2/ God selected David, the youngest son to be the king: Samuel said to Jesse, "Are all your sons here?" He replied, "There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep." Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he comes here."

            David is both the youngest and has a small stature. If considering him according to human standard, he isn’t worthy to be the king; but there are reasons for God’s choice. First, God wants people to know that it is His work, not human merits. God has power to make a young and weak child to be the most famous king of the Israelites. Secondly, the good king must be the one who reveres God and cares for His people. God sees the beauty of David’s mind which people didn’t recognize it.

2/ Reading II: “For the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.”

2.1/ Don’t co-operate in useless things of the children of darkness: St. Paul advised the Ephesians, “For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

            Paul would like to say that when the Ephesians received the sacrament of Baptism, they promised to terminate all darkness of their old life, together with all bad habits and immoral passions; to put on Christ who is the light and the truth. They not only proclaimed their faith in Christ but also promised to practice what he teaches to become the children of light, those who always act according to the truth, live righteous and holy before God. In order to achieve these things, they must stop speaking of the things that they used to do in secret, because it creates chances for them to return to their old life.

2.2/ Christ shall enlighten you: St. Paul identified Christ with light and describes some applications of light.

            (1) Light displays all darkness: Wherever light shines to, darkness is dispelled. All weaknesses, evil desires and sins are displayed by light. People can be deceived or sin in darkness or dim places.

            (2) Sins shall disappear when they are displayed: Paul said, “When anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.” As long as people stay in darkness, sins dominate their life; but if people have courage to come out of darkness and to live in light, they shall give up their sins, live holy and become the children of light. Those who sin like to stay in darkness so that light can’t display their sins; but those who hat sins like to stay in light so their good works are displayed (Jn 3:20-21).

            (3) Christ is the light for men: When people are baptized, the minister hands for them a candle which is lighted from the Paschal candle, and commands, “Put on Christ’s light.” Therefore, the Word is the true light that shines in the world, as Jesus said to his disciples in today gospel, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

            Light is identified with God’s words. If people let God’s words guide their life and live according to it, they shall get out of darkness and enter into light; but if people don’t let God’s words guide their life, they shall sleep in darkness, and death shall guide and take away their life. Therefore, Paul invited his faithful, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light."

 

3/ Gospel: "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind."

3.1/ The man born blind was healed by Jesus: The Jewish tradition identifies suffering is the result of sin (Jer 31:29-30), either of the individual or the parents or the ancestors’ sins. This is the reason why Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

            Jesus answered them, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him.” Jesus didn’t deny the connection between sin and punishment; but he gave us another reason for suffering—that the works of God might be made manifest in him. The works of God are the miracles that Jesus performed to light up the faith in people (Cf. Jn. 5:36; 6:28-29; 7:3; 10:25, 32, 37; 14:10-12; 15:24). In this chapter, what Jesus did to the man born blind, led him to profess his faith in Jesus.

            Then, Jesus continued, “We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. There are two important revelations in this sentence:

            (1) Jesus is the light of the world as he mentioned in many places (Jn 1:4-9, 3:19-21, 5:35, 8:12, 9:5, 11:9-10, 12:35-36, 46), so that people can see and believe in Him.

            (2) God gives everyone a fixed time to work for Him, including Jesus’ time on earth. All must fulfill God’s works during this time; when this time is expired, people can’t work.

            At Jesus’ time, people don’t work at night because they don’t have electricity as we have now. People only work during the day; night is the time to sleep.

            Jesus healed many blind people in the gospels. Sometimes he healed them by touching their eyes (Mt. 9:29; 20:34), or by commanding (Mk. 8:25-26; 10:52; Lk. 18:42). In this passage, he healed the man born blind by making mud with his spittle and anointing around the blind’s eyes. The reason why Jesus made mud probably is to give an occasion for the Pharisees to accuse him of working in the Sabbath later. Sending the blind to Siloam to wash reminds us of Elisha’s sending of Naaman the Syria to wash his leprosy in the Jordan River. He went and washed and his sight is recovered.

3.2/ The healing man was enlightened in his journey of faith: One notorious thing that makes a difference between the Johannine gospel and the Synoptic is that John not only reported the miracle but also the reactions of those who witnessed the miracles. In today gospel, there are two opposite reactions: while the man born blind’s faith is progressed from not knowing Jesus to his recognizing and believing in him, some Pharisees and Jews condemned Jesus as a sinner because he violated the Sabbath.

            (1) The man didn’t know who Jesus is and the ones who know him before are confused. The author reported three reactions of people after the man was healed. Someone recognized he was the beggar and now healed. Other said it is not him. Still other said it is someone likes him.

            The man who was healed confirmed “I am!” They said to him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, `Go to Siloam and wash'; so I went and washed and received my sight." They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know."

            (2) The healing man proclaimed Jesus as a prophet while some Pharisees became blind: There are two questions the Pharisees wanted to ask the man: The first is, "How were your eyes opened?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, `Go to Siloam and wash'; so I went and washed and received my sight." At first, he only knew the one who healed him as “the man called Jesus.” The second question is, "Where is he?" The man said, "I do not know."

            The Pharisees were confronted with a dilemma: Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." Violating the Sabbath is the sign of the sinner and can be stoned to death. We knew that Jesus argued many times against this accusation somewhere in the Synoptic, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" (Mk. 3:4). Charity is more important than keeping the Sabbath. But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" There was a division among them. When facing a dilemma, people must make an effort to find out the true answer. The healing man heard their discussion and he might also ponder the identity of the one who healed him. Therefore, when was asked by the Pharisees about the healer’s identity, he said to them, “He is a prophet.”

           (3) The man was enlightened to recognize his healer must come from God while the Jews condemned his healer is a sinner: The people who interrogated the parents now are the Jews, not the Pharisees as in the first interrogation. The Jews asked his parents, "Is this one your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" His parents answered, "We know that this is our son and that he was born blind; but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself."

            His parents had a valid reason to answer “we do not know,” because they didn’t witness the healing. He is of age means he can live by himself. In today society, one must be over 18 years old. His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if any one should confess him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. This comment must be added later because there is no proof of being “put out of the synagogue” at Jesus’ time. At the Jewish Council at Jamnia on 95 AD, they did issue a decree like that.

            For the 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." They seem to accept the fact that the miracle happened and tell the man to “give God the praise.” They condemned the healer is a sinner because he violated the Sabbath. The man reasoned, “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

            The third interrogation is between the Jews and the man born blind. They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" This is the third time he is interrogated with the same question, and he is getting angry. He answered them, "I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become his disciples?" And they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. The Jews chose to protect the law and Moses is identified with the law, “We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from."

            The man began to reason, “Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes.” God gives him the intellect to reason. His eyes were blind but not his reason. He was enlightening to know the truth from the falsity. The healing of his eyes is the fact that can’t be denied. He continued, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” His reason can be outlined as follows:

            - He knows the truth is that “if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.”

            - “Never since the world began has it been heard that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind.”

            - But God listened to Jesus and healed him.

            And the man concluded, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” He believed that Jesus is from God.

            The Jews are in position of the ones who must know better than him because they have eyes to study the law. They should be able to give him the answer about Jesus! But they answered him, "You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?" And they cast him out.

            The Jews who follow the Jewish tradition believed punishments are the result of sins. The man was born blind because he is a sinner, born in utter sin because he is blind from his mother’s womb. Due to his physical blind, he is also blind in intellectual and spiritual areas. In opposition, they pride themselves with their sight, knowledge and relationship with God as the leaders of people. When were challenged by the man, they not only got angry but also used their power to suppress the man who questioned their authority by casting him out.

            (4) The man confessed his faith in Jesus while some Jews and Pharisees became blind:

        A. Jesus and the man born blind: When Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of man?" Blind from birth and was healed should be a joyful event to celebrate; but it is sad that the man was interrogated so many times and cast out from the synagogue. He must defend himself because his parents didn’t defend him because they fear of the Jews. Only Jesus is the person who not only healed him but cared enough to search for him when he is cast out. He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you." At this moment, he was enlightened to know that Jesus is the one who healed, cared for and was talking to him, so he confessed, "Lord, I believe"; and worshiped him.

            B. Jesus and the Pharisees: Jesus said, "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind." Jesus talked about both physical seeing (eyes) and spiritual seeing (the truth). The man now sees and understands the truth about Christ while the Jews don’t understand the truth about him.

            Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, instead of humbly finding the correct answer of their question about Jesus, they let their pride take over and felt being humiliated by Jesus’ proclamation, so they said to him, "Are we also blind?"

            Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, `We see,' your guilt remains. God gives people the eyes to see and the intellect to reason about what they are seeing to recognize God’s existence, power and identity. If having both these faculties, the eyes and the intellect, and failing to recognize things about God, people shall be judged by Him.

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - We should see, think and evaluate everything according to God’s standard. In order to achieve this, we must let God’s word enlighten and permeate our soul.

            - When witnessing God’s wonderful works in others, we should carefully reason to the root to understand what God wants to reveal to us. Never let our pride, jealousy and greed govern our mind so that we deny even His wonderful works. 

Donation (credit card)

Thanks for your supporting.

Amount: