Weekly Missionary Reflection
4th Sunday of Lent, 19 March 2023
1Sam. 16:1b,6-7,10-13a; Ps. 23:1-3a.3b-4,5,6, Eph. 5:8-14; John 9:1-41
Dear beloved missionaries,
We are on the 4th Sunday of Lent. This week is also called Laetare Week (Latin) or Rejoice Sunday. How can it be a rejoicing Sunday while Lent is about repenting and grief? Rejoice in this context is God’s consolation and strengthening, meaning that joy comes from God, made and presented by God into our heart, self, and life. How can it be possible? It is possible that we are using the “eyes of God”! Whenever we are using the eyes of God, we are seeing the joy in all aspects of life.
“The eyes of God”… What is this difficult and complicated subject?! Indeed it’s none of any complication. Just recall the book of Samuel in the first reading of today’s mass, “God does not see (from His eyes) as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The Lord looks (from His eyes) into the heart.” As a human being, we tend to judge and be attracted by the appearance, just as being attracted to the beautiful packaging yet bad content; pretty face but having a cunning heart, etc.
This is like the story of Samuel who came to Jesse when he was looking for a king to succeed Saul. Jesse presented all his handsome and lofty sons, namely Eliab and his six brothers. Yet all were rejected and the Lord said, “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him.” Then the Lord continued, “God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The Lord looks into the heart.”
A similar story is also told in today’s Gospel. People just look at the appearance. The disciples of Jesus did the same when they saw a blind man from birth, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” His neighbors also judged this blind man, “Isn’t this the one who used to sit and beg?” The Pharisees also judged Jesus from their eyes, “This man is not from God, because he does not keep the Sabbath.” The Pharisees also intimidated the man who had been blind by saying, “Give God the praise! We know that this man is a sinner.” They answered to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?”
Those are the testimonies of the Old Testament and the Bible that human eyes only see what is visible, the external, while the eyes of God see the heart, the inner part of humans. God loves humans irrespective of their appearance. From our daily experience, we learn that we could easily see and judge the outer. We are busy nosing and judging others, no matter who they are. Seldom we look deep into the heart and judge our own self. It’s easy for us to pry into other’s matters with our judgment as if we are the best. We are busy judging others from the outer, even questioning others’ kindness. We also ignore and disbelieve God’s kindness to us. We often interfere with others’ affairs, yet we rarely reflect on ourselves. Such attitudes make us easy to envy and unable to rejoice.
The eyes of God are loving and forgiving. He only expects the best for His beloved children. With the eyes of God, we will only look forward to virtue, peace, and love for others. Therefore, let’s learn to see with the “eyes of God”. This will bring peace and joy. ***NW
(RD. M Nur Widipranoto- National Director of Pontifical Mission Society)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of the Indonesian Church of this month:
For victims of abuse
We pray for those who have suffered harm from members of the Church; may they find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering.
Churching by encountering
We pray that the member of the church rise and be active in ecclesiastical worship and eucharistic celebrations so that church life can be lived as a real encounter, presence, and social fraternity.