BY DAVID MARION
4th Sunday of Lent !Samuel 16:1, 6-7, 10-13 Ephesians 5: 8-14, John 9: 1-41
JESSE MUST HAVE been amazed when Samuel arrived at his house and began his search for a new king. He would have been even more surprised when the choice fell on someone they had all forgotten: David, the youngest.
The forgotten and unimportant people may not be our first choice but they are frequently God's. We judge by the standards of wealth, power, and the New Year Honours List. God tends to look to the Davids of this world to do his real work.
That message may be the connection with today's Gospel. Who had ever heard of the man born blind? We don't even know his name but his meeting with Jesus was no accident. St John's account of it forms one of the best short stories in the New Testament.
There are several sets of characters in the story. The disciples had to have it explained to them that to be born blind was not the result of someone's sin. Then there were the parents. They were probably scared stiff. They would have been delighted that their son could see but terrified that their son might somehow come into collision with the authorities. "He is old enough let him speak for himself," was their way of getting rid of all responsibility.
The central character is the man himself who must have had cheek as well as humour. How else could this once blind beggar have suggested to the Pharisees that perhaps they also wanted to become disciples to Jesus?
The Pharisees themselves were in a cleft stick. Jesus had no authority. He could not possibly speak for God so the miracle had to be explained away somehow. The story ends up with Jesus suggesting that it is they, the respectable ones, who were actually blind.
St Paul, in his letter today to the Ephesians, also contrasts darkness and light. We who follow Christ are now supposed to live in the light. But it takes special sight and special light to see the world as it is. Do we see and feel the sufferings of those who live under the injustices of this world?
It is easy to talk about living as members of one family. To have the light to see that we can change things for the better is more difficult.
The Pharisees were not bad people. They just found it very difficult to understand that God does not follow the rules which we make for him. t