Reflections from the Shrine ...
God Loves a Cheerful Giver
Today is called " Laetare Sunday" from the Latin word "rejoice". It is taken from the opening lines of the Entrance Antiphon: "Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast."
The priest is able to wear rose colored vestments. Flowers could also be placed on the altar even though it is still the season of Lent. Why such joy? It is because we are more than half way through our pilgrimage up to Jerusalem, to Jesus' crucifixion and death, but also His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Like the Samaritan woman in last Sunday's Gospel who was transfigured by her relationship to Jesus, the blind man in today's Gospel is changed from being a beggar by the side of the road to an eager disciple of Jesus Himself.
"While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, "Go wash in the Pool of Siloam." Like in Genesis, Jesus takes clay from the earth to fashion something new. One who was a poor beggar is now a vibrant witness of Christ.
In the beautiful psalm 23 that we read today that is so familiar to us, the psalmist writes: "He guides me in right paths for his namesake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and staff that give me courage."
Today as we celebrate "Rejoice Sunday," perhaps we too are walking in the dark valley of our own fears and doubts. Perhaps locally there are problems at home be it finances or relationships with other family members. And globally we ask ourselves where is the world going with so much division and acts of violence like in London recently?
That is where the man in the Gospel who was healed not just physically but also spiritually can be a teacher or model for us. Through Jesus reaching out to him, he became such a joyful spokesperson of the healing powers of God. As he says of Jesus to the Jewish people: "If this man were not from God, he would not be able to do anything."
We have all heard the expression, "God loves a cheerful giver." This man who now sees is such a good example. We cannot let our fears hinder us from expressing the joy of being one of Jesus' Disciple. Do not let people put down your faith in God and your love and confidence in others and yourself. "For you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage……" so very much courage.
You are reminded of our Scripture reflection this coming Tuesday in the cafeteria from 10:00 to 11:30 AM. Holy Week is also rapidly approaching. The Vigil Mass Holy Saturday will start at 8:00 PM rather than 6:30 PM.
Father John Sullivan M.S.