Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 19.03.2023
1ST SAMUEL 16: 1b, 6 – 7, 10 – 13a
In those days: The Lord said to Samuel, “Fill your horn with oil, and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is bfore him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward.
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 23 :1 – 3a, 3b – 4, 5, 6 (R.) 1
R/. 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;
he revives my soul. R/.
He guides me along the right path,
for the sake of his name.
Though I should walk in the valley
of the shadow of death,
no evil would I fear,
for you are with me.
Your crook and your staff
will give me comfort. R/.
You have prepared a table before me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing. R/.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for length of days unending. R/.
“Arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”
EPHESIANS 5: 8 – 14
Brethren: Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”
The Word of the Lord.
VERSE BEFORE THE GOSPEL
John 8: 12
Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord; he who follows me will have the light of life.
Glory and praise to you, O Christ.
“He went and washed and came back seeing.”
JOHN 9: 1 – 41
At that time: As Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in hint. We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with the clay, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbours and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said, “I am the man.”
They said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. The Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” There was a division among them. So they again said to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”
The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight, and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if any one should confess him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age, ask him.” So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if any one is a worshipper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”
They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshipped him. Jesus said, “For judgement I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this, and they said to him, “Are we also blind?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: The Holy Drama of Grace
March 19, 2023
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. (John 9:35–38)
This is the conclusion to the story of the healing of the man born blind. It is the fifth of seven signs (miracles) in John’s Gospel that point to the divinity of our Lord. This healing especially confirmed Jesus’ teaching from the previous chapter: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus was the Light Who came to dispel all darkness, and now He illustrates this fact by opening the eyes of the blind man. This story is quite long and detailed. The details it includes makes it much more than a miracle. It is also a dramatic story revealing both the consequences of rejecting Jesus, as well as the blessings received by one who turns to Jesus in faith.
We begin with the detail that this man has been blind since birth. It was a common misconception at that time that such a birth defect might have been caused by the sins of the parents. In part, this came from a misreading of Exodus 20:5–6 in which God said that He inflicts punishment “on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation.” Jesus makes it clear that this was not the case; this man’s blindness was a result of the natural disorder experienced by humanity as a result of original sin. If humanity had never been cast out of the Garden of Eden, disease and natural disorders would have never existed. For that reason, we should understand that we are all “blind” in the sense of being born into the state of original sin and are, therefore, in need of the grace of spiritual sight.
The healing of this man is done purely on Jesus’ initiative. This shows that God’s healing action in our lives is always His initiative. But Jesus clearly offered this man healing because He knew the man would eventually come to faith in Him, which is the far more important healing that took place in this story.
After the man is healed, a very interesting drama unfolds. The Pharisees hear of the healing and begin to interrogate the man. Afterwards, they also interrogate the man’s parents and then the man for a second time. Throughout their interrogations, two things happen. First, the Pharisees slowly become more agitated, more irrational and end by completely rejecting both this miraculous sign and Jesus Himself. The man, however, begins with what appears to be a bit of ignorance about Jesus, but as he is interrogated and challenged to explain his healing, he deepens and clarifies his convictions, ending in the deepest faith when he cries out to Jesus, “I do believe, Lord.” Then we are told that the man worshiped Jesus.
The dramatic unfolding of this story teaches us that when we are given the grace of God by hearing His holy Word spoken and witnessing His mighty hand at work, we must make a choice. Either we will respond in faith and slowly be drawn deeper into that faith, or we will rationalize it away and reject God’s saving action in our lives. It is not possible to simply remain indifferent to the Gospel when we hear it spoken or when we see its effects changing us or others.
Reflect, today, upon the two paths this sign from Heaven had on those present to this miracle. You, too, are present to this miracle through your reading of it. How will you respond? Will you imitate the Pharisees and discount the deep spiritual truths this action conveys? Or will you open yourself to the transforming power of this healing? Commit yourself to the path of this blind man. Say to our Lord, “I do believe, Lord.” Apply those words to every action of Jesus in your life and allow that faith to lead you into worship of Him Who is the Light of the World.
Jesus, Light of the World, You came to dispel the darkness caused by original sin. You came to heal our blindness and open the eyes of our souls to Your true Light. Please open my eyes so that I may see, and give me the courage I need to profess my faith in You and worship You with all my heart. Jesus, I trust in You.