My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,1
We continue in these extraordinary times being forced to celebrate the Eucharist privately. I would say that this is a different experience for all of us here in this beautiful Cathedral with nobody here — except ourselves. It’s a totally different feeling, but at the same time, we feel the communion of Saints and the presence of all of you who are together with us this day in the celebration of Holy Mass.
So, I was thinking that really the virtual world is become more and more a real world during these challenging times. And we especially offer the Mass for all those who are suffering as a consequence of the coronavirus, their families, and asking for the protection of God during this difficult time in our lives.
So I’m very grateful that so many of you and your families are able to join me, as I said, in this spiritual communion — joining your intentions to the offering of the Holy Mass.
As we know, this fourth Sunday of Lent is called “Laetare Sunday.” The Sunday of joy, or rejoicing. The Church rejoices today because Lent is half gone and we are that much closer to the joy of celebrating the Resurrection on Easter morning.
In our Gospel passage today, we hear the beautiful story from the Gospel of St. John — about how Jesus heals the man who was blind from birth.
This man is a kind of a symbol of each one of us, of every man and every woman. Because we are all born with the effects of original sin, we are, in a sense, “blind from birth” — we’re not able to see the glory of God in the world, his beautiful plan of love.
And like that blind man, all of us need Jesus to open our eyes so we can see the light of God that fills this world with his goodness and mercy.
And this process of “seeing” God — begins when we are baptized.
The Gospel shows us that. We heard how Jesus anoints the blind man’s eyes with clay, and then tells him to go wash in the pool.
In the same way, we have been anointed and washed in the Sacrament of Baptism. We have become “children of light,” as
St. Paul says in the second reading of today’s Mass.
So in our Lenten journey, we are called to renew and deepen our baptismal identity.
Jesus knows that, just like the blind man, Jesus knows that we want to see. So he comes to open our eyes, to show us the true path to find happiness and joy in our lives.
So Jesus asks the blind man: “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” And of course, dear brothers and sisters, he is asking that same exact question to all of us today: Do you believe in the Son of Man?
Do we believe, my brothers and sisters, that Jesus is with us? Can we see him and recognize his presence — even in the darkness of this world, even in the uncertainty of the times we are living in?
So today, in this Eucharist, let us ask Jesus for the grace to see. Let us ask him to open our eyes once more — to believe in him, to live by his light, and to follow him more closely in our lives.
This week, as we enter another week of these challenging times — a week of sacrifices and hardships, let us try to walk by the light of Christ, by the light of our faith in him.
And I was thinking that I hope that these days we keep in mind the beautiful words of Psalm 23 that we just pray in today’s Responsorial Psalm. It is, I have to say, one of my favorite Psalms.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side … Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.”
Yes these are difficult days. But Jesus is walking with us. We need to believe in his love, believe in his power to change us and to change the world! Let us try to be more like him this week — more loving, more forgiving, more understanding.
And let us ask Mary our Blessed Mother in a special way today, to help us to bring the light of Christ into the world, each in our own way and in our own lives — just as she did.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
1. Readings: 1 Sam. 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a; Ps. 23:1-6; Eph. 5:8-14; John 9:1-41.