Sunday March 22, 2020. (LAETARE SUNDAY) Reading, Prayer of the Faithful and Reflection


Theme of the Sunday: The Christian: A Person Who “Has Received the Light.” The Christians of the first centuries used to call those who received Baptism during the Easter Vigil the “enlightened.” The theme of light is found in the three readings of today. The first reading tells us that whoever has not received the light judges things through human eyes; in reality he cannot see at all. The Gospel tells us how to reach the light. The second reading completes this theme by telling us what we should do to defeat darkness.

Entrance Antiphon Cr. 1 66: 10- 11
Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.

O God, who through your Word reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten towards the solemn celebrations to come. Through our Lord. . .

David is anointed king of Israel.
A reading from the first Book of Samuel (1 Samuel 16:1b.6-7.1 0- 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 before 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.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM 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/.

“A rise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians  (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.

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. ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (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.

Today’s Reflection
Appearance as they say is often deceptive rather that reality. Prophet Samuel was asked to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as king. When he thought he has seen the perfect person to be anointed, God told him, He sees the hearth and not appearances. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus was seen by the Scribes and Pharisees as an ordinary person, even as a sinner. They could not see beyond the physical to perceive him as the Messiah promised for the liberation of the world. Even when he healed a man born blind, they still did not believe that he was the Messiah.  They were stuck with their familiar image of him as the son of a carpenter.  The man who was born blind and healed by Christ, on the other hand, was able to see Christ as the Messiah and worshipped him. As Christians, are we spiritually blind or do we get carried away by appearances?


Celebrant: Let us pray that God’s light may illuminate the minds and hearts of all people:

For our Church and parish community, that we may share the vision of gospel compassion and mercy in our life together: let us pray to the Lord.

For our bishops, priests, ministers, and religious educators, that God’s work may show forth in their ministry among us: let us pray to the Lord.

For those who develop and govern matters of public policy, that the dignity and sacredness of every person may be upheld and honored: let us pray to the Lord.

For those who provide medical and pastoral care, that they may open our eyes to the wonders of God’s love for us in all of life and creation: let us pray to the Lord.

For those who are mentally impaired or physically disabled, that we may be given the grace and wisdom to enable them to use their gifts for the benefit of the entire human family: let us pray to the Lord.

For those who have died, that they may one day awake and arise in the light of Christ: let us pray to the Lord.

For the prayers we now offer in the silence of our hearts

Celebrant: Lord of light, grant us your vision of selfless love that we may make real in our lives the prayers and hopes that you alone see in the depths of our hearts. Hear the prayers which we ask of you in the name of Jesus, the healing Christ.


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