Malankara World

Great Lent Today

Day 35 - Sixth Sunday of the Great Lent

Samiyo/ The Blind Man Sunday

Opening Prayer:

By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God,
may we walk eagerly in that same charity
with which, out of love for the world,
your Son handed himself over to death.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The Readings: (alternate)
Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51; Hebrews 5:7-9; John 12:20-33

In His Steps - A Lenten Series

Today: Korazin: The Danger of Knowing Too Much

Daily Meditation:

Inspired by his love, guided by his example,
change our selfishness into self-giving.
Today we celebrate the Third Scrutiny,
as we journey to the font with those preparing for Baptism.
We are in our last week before Holy Week.
It seems that there is so much left to do, to ask for, to be open to, to surrender, to change.
Jesus assures us that he is the "resurrection and the life,"
that if we place our faith in him, we will "never die."
"I am troubled now. Yet what should I say?
'Father, save me from this hour'?
But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour.
Father, glorify your name."

Today we beg for the graces we need and desire this week.
We ask for courage in the journey ahead.

Today's Daily Reflection

by Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality, Creighton University

PRE-PRAYERING

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday known as well as Passion Sunday. There are some annunciations for us to prepare to hear and a wonderful incarnation of God's love in this liturgy's readings. We prepare for this Lenten celebration by praying with our fractions. I heard a poem recently which stated that God made whole numbers and humans made and love fractions. These breakings seem to give us a sense of depth and control of the small things.

Our fractions or breakings or break-ups can be painful and a sense of our losing control of even the small things. We pray for God to put our pieces back together in the celebration of the Eucharist in which there is a "Fraction Rite" and a distributing of the broken, yet holy. We pray for the grace of simplicity which allows us to bring our whole, yet broken selves to be blest and put together for holy distribution.

REFLECTION

Our First Reading from the prophet Isaiah opens with one long sentence of historical intent. The "First Exodus" is being recalled to the minds of the people of Israel now in captivity in Babylon. The Word of the Lord is speaking of the events of the past, but in the present tense. God is bringing to their minds the truth that in their minds that the events of their past are present in the eyes of God. They are in exile from their homeland and the "Second Exodus" will be even greater as an identifying claim that the nation is even more God's Chosen.

In the rest of the prophesy from Isaiah, God is saying, in a sense, "That first display of my power was nothing. You ain't seen nothing yet!" In the First Exodus the waters were split so that a safe passage would be allowed. Now the opposite will take place. Where there is no water in the desert, there will be rivers and a way back home. As in the "First Exodus" the object of freedom is so that they might understand God's being their God and their response is to announce God's praise and serve that same loving God.

It is not to be forgotten by the Jews; it is a part of their saving history. This "second" is not a replacement, but an intensification of that saving love. The wild beasts will praise the creating God for their new life in the desert of fertility. The people of God are called to that same sense of grateful relating to their God of creation and salvation.

The Gospel story is a "something-new" event as well. John presents Jesus as being in the temple area and the crowds come to hear His teachings. John's whole Gospel is a presenting of Jesus as a replacement of the temple which the Romans destroyed long after the death and resurrection of Jesus. So the setting of this story is significant and so is His teaching through this saving event.

The "old" that is, the Pharisees and scribes are attracted to Jesus, but in a negative way. They bring to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. It is a court scene and Jesus, not the woman, is on trial. The issue here is whether Jesus is of the "old" or of something "new". The Law of Moses is the evidence and what new evidence which Jesus will provide, creates the tension. If Jesus condemns her then He is of the "old" and they win and remain the religious center for the people. If Jesus violates the Law and does something new and different, then Jesus is not only opposed to the Law, but to their being at the center.

It is significant as well for John's theology that Jesus arrives early in the morning, at daybreak. The verses which follow this story begin with Jesus declaring that He is the "Light of the world". This whole chapter is a discussion with the Jewish leaders about just who Jesus is. As "Light" Jesus desires to illumine their minds and hearts. This discussion continues into the next Chapter where the "Man Born Blind" is healed and they, the Jewish leaders, are pictured as being blinded by what they fail to see.

The woman of today's Gospel is a set-up person. The Pharisees use her for their purposes as did the man who used her sexually. Jesus meets her as well as a revelation of His "new" revelational way. He frees her from the captivity of the crowd, the Pharisees and the Law. The tension of the courtroom is resolved by Jesus' inviting her fellow-sinners to keep the Law by stoning her if they are without sin. Nobody is left to throw stones cleanly. Jesus missions her to live as loved, not used any more.

Here is what is new. Jesus is not being judicial as are the Pharisees whose interests are self-justifying performances of the Law. Jesus sends the woman back into a sense of relating as one member of the whole community. Lent, is never meant for us, to be a self-purifying season so that I merely remain more an I, self-purified and self-satisfied with my penances, mortifications, religious strictness. Lent ends with community. Lent ends with Jesus rising and gathering together those who have been untombed. Lent ends with us renewing our baptismal entrances into community. Lent ends, as with the Jews of the "Second Exodus" back in our homeland together, where we belong.

"The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy." Ps. 126

Preface for Meditation:
by Prince Mathew

"They will look on the one they have pierced." Not just those gathered around this wooden cross erected on the darkening hill of Golgotha--haven't we all looked upon him? For close to two thousand years humanity has looked back on this seminal, defining moment. It has looked back on the one they have pierced. Yes, all of us have pierced him, for all of us have sinned. As Paul so aptly will remind us in Romans 3:23, it is sin that has placed him there, nailed him to that barren tree, and we are all sinners, each and every one of us.

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the nexus point, the pivotal moment in all of human history. Everything that came before led up to this moment and everything that has happened afterward is the outworking of it, looking back to it. As Peter told the assembled elders in Jerusalem, which is recorded in Acts 4:11-12, "He is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

From the first promise to Eve as mankind was banished from the Garden of Eden that her seed would crush the head of Satan, to the Jews standing that very day throughout the Roman Empire, all of whom awaited the coming Messiah represented in the fifth Passover cup, the Cup of Elijah; everything in the life of the people of God since their creation has pointed to this moment. From David blessing Jerusalem as the city of God, to Nehemiah saving it for the future Messiah to walk in, to the revolt of the Macabees preserving the temple and priesthood from the Abomination of Desolation, so that the High Priest might this very morning pronounce that "it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish"; everything has pointed to this one decisive moment.

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the physical wilderness of Sinai to heal the stricken nation of Israel, so now Jesus is lifted up in the spiritual wilderness of Golgotha to heal the whole stricken human race. Salvation is found in no one else, no one who came before, and no one who will come after. There is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. There is only one way, one truth, and one life. It is in the singular name of the one that the Romans have just pierced. It is in the name of the one whose hands and feet are at this moment nailed to the rough wood standing before us. It is in Jesus the Christ whom we look upon for our hope of redemption.

Bible Reading Passages:
Sixth Sunday of Great Lent

Evening

Morning

Before Holy Qurbana

Holy Qurbana

Gospel Readings:

Mark 10:46-52 (KJV)

And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.

And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.

And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.

And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.

And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.


Matthew 9:27-31 (KJV)

And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou son of David, have mercy on us.

And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.


John 9:1-41 (KJV)

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?

Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.

Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?

He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.

And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.

But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.

And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?

His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:

But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.

These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.

He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?

He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?

Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.

We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.

The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.

If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.

They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

Bible Verse of the Day:

"Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
- St. Mark 10:52

Intercessions

Let us praise our loving Redeemer, who gained for us this season of grace,
and pray to him, saying:
Lord, create a new spirit in us.

Christ, our life, through baptism we were buried with you and rose to life with you,
- may we walk today in newness of life.
Lord, you have brought blessings to all mankind,
- bring us to share your concern for the good of all.
May we work together to build up the earthly city,
- with our eyes fixed on the city that lasts for ever.
Healer of body and soul, cure the sickness of our spirit,
- so that we may grow in holiness through your constant care.

Closing Prayer:

Father,
it's so hard to love the world sometimes
and to love it the way Jesus did seems impossible.
Help me to be inspired by his love and
guided by his example.
Most of all, I want to accept that I can't do it alone,
and that trying is an arrogance of self-centeredness.
I need you, dear God, to give me support in this journey.
Show me how to unlock my heart
so that I am less selfish.
Let me be less fearful of the pain and darkness
that will be transformed by you into Easter joy.

May the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life.
Amen.

Source: Portions from: Creighton University Praying Lent

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