Fourth Sunday in Lent- 19th March

1Sam 16:1, 6-7, 10-13 Ps 22 Eph 5:8-14 Jn 9:1-41

Anyone familiar with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and especially anyone who has been personally involved with bringing adults into the church using the various rites that mark the process will be familiar with the idea of the journey of faith, the gradual coming to awareness, which is not about acquiring information, but coming to know the person of Jesus and who he is. The gospel of the man born blind is paradigmatic of such a process. The way the man has to deal with other people – the crowd, the family, the authorities – and the way he gradually comes to appreciate who Jesus is – from “the man called Jesus” to “Lord, I believe” all offer an exemplar of what it means to come to faith. It also shows conversion as a challenge because it requires a setting aside of former ways and adopting a different perspective.

Paul writing to the Ephesians uses the same imagery of light and darkness that we find in the gospel, and it prepares us to see that such language is appropriate for talking about coming to faith. The reading from Samuel also reminds us that the Lord does not necessarily choose the most likely people to receive his gift of faith; indeed the community can often be surprised by those who seek Jesus, and it needs to be constantly sensitive to those who are searching.