As we come to the fourth Sunday of Lent, the Sunday that we call Rejoice Sunday.
One might say, well, why in the midst of Lent are we rejoicing?
After all, it’s supposed to be a season of penance and mortification.
Listen to the readings. The first one again, the call of David.
And the second. The reading from the Gospel of John, The Healing of the Blind Man.
What happens in both? It’s interesting.
Because it is the initiative of God.
That is causing. A turn in the events in the first reading.
Again, the initiative of God sending Samuel to choose to call forth from just say, sons, the one who will now become the king of Israel, one who replace Saul.
And so, again, it is the initiative of God, and you have that beautiful scene at the beginning.
Samuel looks at the oldest of the sons and says, well, that must be the one God wants.
And God immediately corrects him and says, no. God does not see like man sees – God sees the heart.
And God holds to the heart. And so.
Jesse calls his son, who is out taking care of the youngest, who’s taking care of the sheep and calls him.
And God says to Samuel. That’s the one. Again, the initiative of God.
In intervening in human history in order that God’s plan might be completed.
When you come to the gospel is the same story in one sense for this poor individual who was blind from birth and basically was there minding his business, doing what he always did: beg. You know, that he could get support.
Jesus initiates the action. Jesus sees the blind man.
And decides that he will cure him.
And so he reaches down and takes the dirt.
Add some spittle and makes a clay that he puts over the man’s eyes.
And the poor individual, had no idea what was going on and why this was happening.
But then Jesus gives him an instruction. He says, go and wash.
In the pool of Siloam. And he does.
So you would have to say. He must have had a sense of trust of Jesus.
That he would follow the instructions. After all, it’s very evident that he didn’t even know who Jesus was.
But Jesus acts. And the act gets a response in the sense that he goes and he washes and then the story goes on, we use the shorter version today.
But the story goes on then to talk about how he is discovered.
To be seeing people looking and saying, well, that the blind man, how did he get his sight?
And he goes on to tell them. But it’s interesting, he goes on to tell them he doesn’t know who he is.
But that man. Put Clay on my eyes.
So I washed and now I can see. And so they’re struggling.
How do you accept that which is so out of the ordinary?
And so immediately they say, well, I can’t be the same person.
Or else he wasn’t really born blind and so they called the parents.
And the parents say, yes, he was born blind. He’s been blind since the day he came forth from his mother.
They say to the parents, well, how did he come to see? And they say he’s old enough.
Let him answer for himself. They don’t want to get in the midst of this whole controversy.
And so you have that section that we read, the dialog with the Pharisees who are unbelieving.
And ultimately get frustrated with him because he won’t change his story.
And he has the audacity. To say. That Jesus must be a prophet.
Because he comes from God. And they are furious.
And they throw him out. And again, what happens is interesting.
Jesus comes and finds him. Jesus comes and finds him.
And as a result of that, a new dialog takes place.
And it’s the dialog between Jesus and the person who can now see.
And it’s a dialog that leads him, leads him to an appreciation.
Oh, Jesus. Do you believe in the son of man?
A phrase that certainly at that time in Judaism was very much understood to be a way you referred to the Messiah.
And so Jesus asked him, do you believe in the son of man?
And he’s simple. He says, Well, tell me who he is.
And I believe in him. And Jesus said it is him.
And now not only the eyes are opened.
But the mind is open, the heart is opened. This individual now looks at Jesus and says, I believe.
And he worships him. The reason this is.
Rejoice Sunday. Is because the readings.
Are about the mercy of God and how God is constantly intervening in our lives
in ways that we more often than not do not understand and can’t appreciate.
But the fact that God is at work on our behalf out of love.
And what comes from that when we realize it, and sometimes it takes us our entire life to realize it?
Then you have. What is the end of this story? A blind man sees.
He sees not merely with his eyes, but he sees with his mind and his heart.
And his response. Is gratitude. He worships Jesus.
He expresses his gratitude. For the fact that he is a recipient of God’s mercy.
He is beholden by God as the one who is loved.
I think. Again, the reason that we have this as Rejoice Sunday.
Is because hopefully our Lenten journey. Is drawing us closer to Jesus and helping us even in the midst of these difficult times.
Helping us to see. The mercy of God at work.
The mercy of God as it’s been manifested over the past year.
Through this COVID19 crisis, the mercy of God manifested in how we’ve learned to care for one another.
We’ve learned to be engaged in one another’s lives.
Mm hmm. You think back. Seven o’clock events that occurred every day.
As people expressed gratitude to the health care workers.
For the fact that they were willing to put themselves at risk in service of the unknown, really?
You think about right here. The food pantry that occurs every Thursday.
As parishioners come to help those in need.
You think about all the other things that have happened that in a sense.
Show. How God has led us.
To understand. That we are a people.
Intimately connected with one another. And called to express gratitude via our willingness to manifest in our lives.
The love that God continues to pour upon us.