Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 22, 2020 – Year A
Readings: 1 Sm 16:1B, 6-7, 1-13A / Ps 23 / Eph 5:8-14 / Jn 9:1-41
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
This morning I had the chance to talk with my relatives in New York and California. Because of this coronavirus, we now have more time, not only to reconnect with our relatives and friends in other parts of the country and the world, but also many of us have rediscovered our relationship with our God. And this is indeed a silver lining in the dark cloud of this COVID-19 pandemic.
As the Apostle Paul puts it in his letter to the Romans, we know and we believe that everything works for good for those who love God. All of us who are members of God’s family here on earth need to pray for each other and encourage one another and remind each other of the Lord’s promise that He will be with us always until the end of time.
In today’s gospel, the Lord Jesus performed one of his spectacular miracles, when he made the blind man see. But the way the Lord has done this miracle is definitely in violation of social distancing during the pandemic. But Jesus is God. He could do the impossible. Yes, He rose from the dead.
With this in mind, let’s take a second look at how the Lord performed this miracle. When He passed by the man who was blind from birth, He spat on the ground and made clay with His saliva, and smeared the clay on the man’s eyes and said to him, “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.” The man went and washed and came back able to see. And what a commotion it created! I believe that all of you have a Holy Bible or a Roman Missal or both, so please read all of Chapter 9 of the Gospel of John.
Now going back to this gospel, when the Lord heard that this man was thrown out of the synagogue (and this is surely a million times worse that being quarantined), He gave him the opportunity to profess his faith. And this man eventually said, “I do believe in you, Lord,” and he worshipped the Lord Jesus. He was not only able to see with his physical eyes, but he was able to see the Lord and everybody and everything around him with the eyes of his faith.
With the present COVID-19 pandemic that has been the cause of death of hundreds and has afflicted thousands all over the world, and with no definite solution in sight, it is beyond doubt that the world is in darkness. Ordinarily, human as we are, we have a reason to worry or even be afraid, but we are not ordinary mortals. We are temples of the Holy Spirit; we are sons and daughters of God.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God; have faith also in me.” Faith is indeed the best antidote for fear. It is this same faith that will enable us to pray the verse of Psalm 23, which Bishop Knestout quoted at the beginning of his homily this morning at the cathedral. The psalm encourages us to say and pray, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.”
And in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow nor reap, but your Father in heaven takes care of them.” Then the Lord said, “Do not worry.” Yes, we need to do everything humanly possible and do our best, but we should let God do the rest.
Those of you who have read the history of the Church know that God’s people have undergone trials, plagues, and other tribulations, and they always have emerged victorious in the end. My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us continue to pray for all the scientists and medical experts that they may find an antidote for this virus and find a cure for the ailments caused by COVID-19. And as we pray for all of the afflicted all over the world, let us continue to support each other and encourage one another, as members of God’s family. This season of Lent, where we are reflecting on the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Lord, will surely be unlike any other, but we also all believe as God’s children that if we all share in Christ’s suffering, we will all share in His glory and resurrection.