for Sunday, April 3, 2011
Today's Gospel is very long and very important for us in this time of Lent.
The first question that it puts before us is the question of our own
capacity to see. Do we see everything in the light of Christ? Too often
we don't because our eyes are blinded for various reasons. All we need do
is ask ourselves: am I looking at this situation in the way that I think
Christ would look at it?
Sometimes, even when we get a momentary glimpse of how Christ might see a
particular situation, we find ourselves still unable to live that insight.
Even when we want to live that insight, the patterns of our lives, the
habits that hold us, keep us from living in that light of Christ.
The first reading today, from the Book of Samuel, speaks to this same
challenge. Samuel wants to anoint the eldest son of Jesse as the King.
The Lord has to remind Samuel that it is God who chooses and God does no
choose the same way as we humans choose because God knows us through and
through. Surely this is one of the great defects of politics in every age:
we choose not for a heart devoted to God but because of utility or liking
or some other truly extraneous reason.
Saint Benedict in his Rule for Monks, points out that whoever is chosen as
abbot of a community should be chosen for the wisdom of his teachings and
the merit of his life. These two criteria could be well utilized in any
election: wisdom and merit. If we follow the history of the kings after
David, we see how quickly the criteria change from God's choice to simple
The second reading, from the Letter to the Ephesians, gives us similar
advice: Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. In general, most of us
do know what is pleasing to the Lord, especially if we have been striving
to live as followers of Christ. That does not mean that we automatically
choose what is pleasing to the Lord—it just means that we often know what
is pleasing to the Lord. To choose is an act of the will. To choose is to
do what is pleasing to the Lord.
We begin to see. Just as the blind man begins to see, we begin to see.
Doing what is pleasing to the Lord is living in the light, it is both
seeing and choosing. The more we walk with the Lord, the more light we
have and the better our choices are.
May this Lent be a time of increasing light for all of us. May our vision
become strong and clear. May Christ's light be our light.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: