Homily for the fourth Sunday of Lent, A

I once met a friend reading a book titled, “how to be successful”. Though I have not read that book, but I strongly believe that it is all about planning, strategizing, knowing what to do and what not to do to be successful in life. It is good for us to plan for our tomorrow; however, every plan that excludes God crashes. We do not know what tomorrow holds for us, so we need to work with the God who knows tomorrow. Apart from him we can do nothing because, he sees far more than we can see. He alone can choose and bless who so ever he wishes.

In our first reading this morning we see God send Samuel to the house of Jesse of Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons as king, the one God himself has chosen. When Samuel arrived, he saw Eliab, one of Jesse’s sons and concluded that he must be the chosen one. But the Lord said to Samuel, “Take no notice of his appearance or his height for I have rejected him; God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Jesse presented his seven sons and none was chosen by God, and Samuel had to ask if these seven are the only sons he has. There is one still left, the youngest, he is out looking after the sheep. For Jesse, he saw nothing kingly in his youngest son David, which was the reason he did not present him when he was asked to present his sons. For Jesse, David was too young, not prepared, he has not strategized and has not read the book about been successful. While Jesse saw inability in his son David, God saw ability in him. Jesse saw smallness and unworthiness in David, but God saw greatness in him. That is exactly what we see in our gospel passage this morning.

As Jesus and his disciples walked along, they saw a man who was born blind. “His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?” That was a hasty conclusion, they did not asked Jesus what caused the blindness because, they had already concluded that the blindness was caused by sin. In other words, they said to Jesus, we already know that it is only sin that can cause something like this; tell us therefor, who sinned, this man or his parents?

Like Jesse who saw nothing but inability and unworthiness in his son David, the disciples of Jesus also saw nothing in this blind man but sin. The world may also look at us and see nothing but weaknesses and sin, but God sees something different in us. Samuel, Jesse and the disciples of Jesus looked at appearances, but God looked beyond what man can see. In David God saw greatness, and in the blind man the Lord saw glory. The man’s blindness was to bring glory to God, and it brought glory to God. Jesus opened the eyes of the man born blind, and the when Pharisees questioned the man about this miracle, he says: “Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of a man who was born blind; if this man were not from God, he couldn’t do a thing.” In other words, he is from God, and as Christians we believe he is God. That is the reason we must put our trust in him.

It doesn’t matter where we stand at the moment, it doesn’t matter the position we occupy right now or the situation we are in. What matters now is to acknowledge the fact that when we walk with God, all things are possible. David was not in the house when his brothers were been considered for the anointing by the prophet Samuel, he was in the field doing what he was asked to do by his father. But because God had chosen him even before Samuel came to the house, he was called back from the field to be anointed king. So also the blind man, he was positioned to bring glory to God.

St. Paul tells us that we too have been chosen. He says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1:3-4). God has chosen us in Christ to be blessed, to be holy and blameless. He positioned us for Divine blessing as he positioned David and the blind man for blessing, but in so many different ways we have walked away from this position, from the holy life, from blamelessness into the waiting hands of the devil. This season of Lent is another opportunity for us to retrace our steps to be where God has called us to be, to be holy and blameless.

In our sincere struggle for perfection, to remain where God has asked us to be just as David remained in the field, we can be lifted by the amazing grace of God as David and the man born blind were lifted. We pray God today to let every situation in our lives bring him glory through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as pastor in two different parishes, he was one time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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