First reading: A Reading from the First Book of Samuel: 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7,10-13
The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen myself a king among his sons.’
When Samuel arrived, he caught sight of Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed stands there before him,’ 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 to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’
He then asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’ He answered, ‘There is still one left, the youngest; he is out looking after the sheep.’
Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send for him; we will not sit down to eat until he comes.’
Jesse had him sent for, a boy of fresh complexion, with fine eyes and pleasant bearing.
The Lord said, ‘Come, anoint him, for this is the one.’ At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.
Responsorial: Psalm 23:1-6
The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.
He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort.
You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.
Second Reading: Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 5:8-14
You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, having nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast.
The things which are done in secret are things that ashamed even to speak of; but anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light.
That is why it is said:
Wake up from your sleep,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!
Gospel Reading: Extracted from the holy Gospel according to John 9:1-41
As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth.
His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, for him to have been born blind?’
‘Neither he nor his parents sinned,’ Jesus answered ‘he was born blind so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
‘As long as the day lasts I must carry out the work of the one who sent me;
the night will soon be here when no one can work.
As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.’
Having said this, he spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (a name that means ‘sent’).
So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored.
His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one.’ Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ The man himself said, ‘I am the man.’ So they said to him, ‘Then how do your eyes come to be open?’ ‘The man called Jesus’ he answered ‘made a paste, daubed my eyes with it and said to me, “Go and wash at Siloam”; so I went, and when I washed I could see.’ They asked, ‘Where is he?’ ‘I don’t know’ he answered.
They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man’s eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, ‘He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.’ Then some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the sabbath.’
Others said, ‘How could a sinner produce signs like this?’ And there was disagreement among them. So they spoke to the blind man again, ‘What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?’
‘He is a prophet’ replied the man.
However, the Jews would not believe that the man had been blind and had gained his sight, without first sending for his parents and asking them, ‘Is this man really your son who you say was born blind? If so, how is it that he is now able to see?’
His parents answered, ‘We know he is our son and we know he was born blind, but we do not know how it is that he can see now, or who opened his eyes. He is old enough: let him speak for himself.’ His parents spoke like this out of fear of the Jews, who had already agreed to expel from the synagogue anyone who should acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. This was why his parents said, ‘He is old enough; ask him.’
So the Jews again sent for the man and said to him, ‘Give glory to God! For our part, we know that this man is a sinner.’ The man answered, ‘I don’t know if he is a sinner; I only know that I was blind and now I can see.’
They said to him, ‘What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He replied, ‘I have told you once and you wouldn’t listen. Why do you want to hear it all again? Do you want to become his disciples too?’
At this they hurled abuse at him: ‘You can be his disciple,’ they said ‘we are disciples of Moses: we know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.’ The man replied, ‘Now here is an astonishing thing! He has opened my eyes, and you don’t know where he comes from! We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but God does listen to men who are devout and do his will. 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.’
‘Are you trying to teach us,’ they replied ‘and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!’ And they drove him away.
Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’
‘Sir,’ the man replied ‘tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.’
Jesus said, ‘You are looking at him; he is speaking to you.’
The man said, ‘Lord, I believe’, and worshipped him.
‘It is for judgement that I have come into this world,
so that those without sight may see and those with sight turn blind.’
Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him, ‘We are not blind, surely?’
‘Blind? If you were, you would not be guilty,
but since you say, “We see,” your guilt remains.’
It was the Fourth Sunday of Lent on 30 March 2014.
The Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day are shown above:
First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13 ,
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23:1-6,
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14 &
Gospel Reading: John 9:1-41.
We have extracted the Homilies Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
VISIT TO ST MATTHIAS THE APOSTLE PARISH (ROME)
HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II
Fourth Sunday of Lent, 14 March 1999
1. "Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all of you who love her, rejoice with her" (Entrance Antiphon).
Today's liturgy begins with this invitation to rejoice. It gives a particularly cheerful tone to this Fourth Sunday of Lent, traditionally called Laetare Sunday. Yes, we should rejoice because the true Lenten spirit is a search for the deep joy which is the fruit of our friendship with God. We rejoice because Easter is now close at hand, and in a little while we will celebrate our freedom from evil and sin, thanks to the new life brought to us by Christ who died and rose again.
On our way to Easter, the liturgy urges us to retrace the catechumenal journey with those who are preparing to receive Baptism. Last Sunday, we meditated on the gift of the living water of the Spirit (cf. John 4:5-42); today we reflect near the pool of Siloam with the man born blind, to embrace Christ, the light of the world (cf. John 9:1-41).
"He went and washed and came back seeing" (John 9:7). Like the blind man, we must let ourselves be enlightened by Christ and renew our faith in the suffering Messiah, who reveals himself as the light of our life: "I am the light of the world; he who follows me ... will have the light of life" (Gospel Acclamation; cf. John 8:12).
Water and light are essential elements of life. It is for this reason that Jesus elevates them to signs which reveal the great mystery of man's participation in the divine life.
2. Dear brothers and sisters of St Matthias the Apostle Parish, I am delighted to be with you on this Laetare Sunday. I offer my affectionate greetings to the Cardinal Vicar, the Auxiliary Bishop of this area, your parish priest, Mons. Vincenzo Josia, the priests who work with him and all of you who live, pray and bear witness to the Gospel in this neighbourhood. Today I would especially like to remember the first beloved parish priest of this community, Mons. Desiderio Pirovano, whom the Lord called to himself almost a year ago, after suffering a long illness which he faced with exemplary dignity and faith.
I know that your parish, now 35 years old, is characterized by good participation of the faithful in sacramental and ecclesial life. I am pleased with this, and thank the Lord with you for this spiritual and community wealth, which should make you even more committed to missionary activity aimed at those who do not yet share the same spiritual experience. For this reason, the City Mission which, please God, we will conclude together on 22 May next at the solemn Pentecost Vigil in St Peter's Square, is of real help to you. It is necessary that your missionary commitment continue afterwards with suitable initiatives. In fact, it must involve the parish communities and the whole Diocese to an ever greater extent, so that all the baptized will be ready to respond courageously to the human and spiritual challenges of the present time. In this context, it is important to make the most of the propensity for and openness to the Gospel found in society, without stopping at appearances, but looking at the heart of situations. This is what the first reading recalls through the person and mission of the prophet Samuel: "Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). In every person we meet, even in those who openly profess not to be interested in the things of the Spirit, the need for God is real: it is the task of believers to proclaim and bear witness to the liberating truth of the Gospel, offering the light of Christ to everyone.
13 April 2014