Liturgy of the Sunday

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Fourth Sunday of Lent
Anniversary of the pastoral ministry of pope Francis.

First Reading

1 Samuel 16,1.4.6-7.10-13

Yahweh said to Samuel, 'How much longer do you mean to go on mourning over Saul, now that I myself have rejected him as ruler of Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have found myself a king from among his sons.' Samuel did what Yahweh ordered and went to Bethlehem. The elders of the town came trembling to meet him and asked, 'Seer, is your coming favourable for us,' When they arrived, he looked at Eliab and thought, 'This must be Yahweh's anointed now before him,' but Yahweh said to Samuel, 'Take no notice of his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him; God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart.' Jesse thus presented seven of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, 'Yahweh has not chosen these.' He then asked Jesse, 'Are these all the sons you have?' Jesse replied, 'There is still one left, the youngest; he is looking after the sheep.' Samuel then said to Jesse, 'Send for him, for we shall not sit down to eat until he arrives.' Jesse had him sent for; he had ruddy cheeks, with fine eyes and an attractive appearance. Yahweh said, 'Get up and anoint him: he is the one!' At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him, surrounded by his brothers; and the spirit of Yahweh seized on David from that day onwards. Samuel, for his part, set off and went to Ramah.


Psalm 23


Lord you are the king of glory.

The Lord is the earth and its fullness,
the world and all its peoples.

It is he who set it on the seas;
on the waters he made it firm.

Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?

The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things
who has not sworn so as to deceive his neighbour,

He shall receive blessings from the Lord
and reward from the God who saves him.

Such are the men who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher, ancient doors.
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Who is the king of glory?
The Lord, the mighty, the valiant,
the Lord, the valiant in war.

O gates, lift high your heads;
grow higher ancient doors.
Let him enter, the king of glory!

Who is he the king of glory?
He, the Lord of armies, he is the king of glory.

Second Reading

Ephesians 5,8-14

You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; behave as children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and uprightness and truth. Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, take no part in the futile works of darkness but, on the contrary, show them up for what they are. The things which are done in secret are shameful even to speak of; but anything shown up by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated is itself a light. That is why it is said: Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Reading of the Gospel

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

John 9,1-41

As he went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should have been born blind?' 'Neither he nor his parents sinned,' Jesus answered, 'he was born blind so that the works of God might be revealed in him. 'As long as day lasts we must carry out the work of the one who sent me; the night will soon be here when no one can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.' Having said this, he spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man, and said to him, 'Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam' (the name means 'one who has been sent'). So he went off and washed and came back able to see. His neighbours and the people who used to see him before (for he was a beggar) said, 'Isn't this the man who used to sit and beg?' Some said, 'Yes, it is the same one.' Others said, 'No, but he looks just like him.' The man himself said, 'Yes, I am the one.' So they said to him, 'Then how is it that your eyes were opened?' He answered, 'The man called Jesus made a paste, daubed my eyes with it and said to me, "Go off and wash at Siloam"; so I went, and when I washed I gained my sight.' They asked, 'Where is he?' He answered, 'I don't know.' They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. It had been a Sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man's eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had gained his sight, he said, 'He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.' Then some of the Pharisees said, 'That man cannot be from God: he does not keep the Sabbath.' Others said, 'How can a sinner produce signs like this?' And there was division among them. So they spoke to the blind man again, 'What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?' The man answered, 'He is a prophet.' However, the Jews would not believe that the man had been blind without first sending for the parents of the man who had gained his sight and asking them, 'Is this man really the son of yours who you say was born blind? If so, how is it that he is now able to see?' His parents answered, 'We know he is our son and we know he was born blind, but how he can see, we don't know, nor who opened his eyes. Ask him. He is old enough: let him speak for himself.' His parents spoke like this out of fear of the Jews, who had already agreed to ban from the synagogue anyone who should acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. This was why his parents said, 'He is old enough; ask him.' So the Jews sent for the man again and said to him, 'Give glory to God! We are satisfied that this man is a sinner.' The man answered, 'Whether he is a sinner I don't know; all I know is that I was blind and now I can see.' They said to him, 'What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?' He replied, 'I have told you once and you wouldn't listen. Why do you want to hear it all again? Do you want to become his disciples yourselves?' At this they hurled abuse at him, 'It is you who are his disciple, we are disciples of Moses: we know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we don't know where he comes from.' The man replied, 'That is just what is so amazing! You don't know where he comes from and he has opened my eyes! We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but God does listen to people who are devout and do his will. Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of someone born blind; if this man were not from God, he wouldn't have been able to do anything.' They retorted, 'Are you trying to teach us, and you a sinner through and through ever since you were born!' And they ejected him. Jesus heard they had ejected him, and when he found him he said to him, 'Do you believe in the Son of man?' 'Sir,' the man replied, 'tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.' Jesus said, 'You have seen him; he is speaking to you.' The man said, 'Lord, I believe,' and worshipped him. Jesus said: It is for judgement that I have come into this world, so that those without sight may see and those with sight may become blind. Hearing this, some Pharisees who were present said to him, 'So we are blind, are we?' Jesus replied: If you were blind, you would not be guilty, but since you say, 'We can see,' your guilt remains.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory


From the first word of the entrance antiphon of the liturgy, this Sunday is called Laetare (Joy) Sunday. It is an invitation to interrupt for a moment the severity of Lent. The joy suggested to us does not come certainly from the conditions of the world in this time, rather it is difficult to find reasons to rejoice: how many conflicts fill still t hearth with blood! How many poor are abandoned! The reason for joy does not come from the world but the getting close of Easter that transforms death inro victory, sadness in to joy. The joy of the man born blind who sees again is the joy for which the liturgy asks us. He was blind from birth, and he stayed on the margins of the street to ask for alms. It was a fixed destiny, as people say.
Jesus stopped as soon as he saw him. The disciples asked him: "Rabbi, who sinned, him or his parents, that he was born blind?" For the disciples that blind man is a case to argue about. Jesus looks at the blind man with eyes of the heart and answers: "Neither he nor his parents sinned." Jesus shows how we need to look at that blind man, at all the poor, the suffering and the sick: look at them with compassion. Jesus looks at him, is moved and he gets close and touches him with a thoughtful gesture, not a distracted one. He bends and takes the dust and after wetting it with his saliva he spreads it on the man's eyes. It is the hand of God which formed man from creation, and which continues to renew him. Those ashes, that dust with which we began Lent is loved by God. It is the reason why the Lord is moved, the reason which drives the Lord to come down to us. The Lord loves us because we are weak, because we are dust. And when Jesus tells him to wash in the pool of Shiloh without hesitation, he goes to the pool to wash himself. With very quick summary, the evangelist writes: "he went, he washed himself and when he returned he could see." The miracle was not a magical act: it was done through that gesture of tenderness of Jesus' hand together with the obedience of that blind man to the word which was uttered to him.
This healing process is an indication for us too, who so often are blind not by birth, but for our habit of only looking at ourselves. In sun we are blind because we are hopeless. The Lord comes and "opens the eyes," open our eyes on the sad condition of the world and encourage us on the vision of salvation, of a just and peaceful world. even times in this passage. Seven times in this passage the evangelist repeats the sentences " open the eyes." This repetition is not random. Perhaps it indicates the ease with which we can fall back into blindness. It is not enough to be touched once, that is to listen and obey once and for all. The Lord-as he did with that blind man-continues to ask us new questions and new commitments of us. These are requests of love and growth in following Jesus. He asks the blind now healed man: "Do you believe in the Son of man?" Jesus seeks friends to love and companions with whom he can change the world. The blind man responds: "And who is the Lord that I might believe in him?" This is the question of Lent: to know Jesus more, to look at his face more, to allow ourselves to be touched by his love. From the Gospel we hear: "it is him who speaks with you." Together with that blind man we say: "I believe, Lord!" It is our profession of faith, that of loved and healed men and women who again set to follow the Lord to change this world and make it more just and more fraternal.