The Fourth Sunday of Lent 1 Sm 16:1, 6-7, 10-13; Ps 23; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41

We have now reached the mid-point of Lent and many of us will be taking a short break from our Lenten observances. At the same time, others will be renewing their resolve to start Lent! Either way, for all of us Lent is a time of reflection and renewal, and an opportunity to focus our attention more clearly on the love and mercy of Jesus Christ and our response to it.

Lent is about letting Jesus into our lives. The trouble is that once he’s there our lives change, and I would go as far as to say that he wreaks havoc on our comfort zones. When Christ is the measure of our lives we learn to think and act in his way and everything we do is for his honour and glory. Inevitably this means giving up habits of life and mind which will bring us challenges and discomfort.

So the real grace of Lent is not so much our doing things for God but allowing his grace to flow into us and change our lives accordingly. In order to do this we need a means by which we can grow in the knowledge and love of God; we cannot do it by our own lights. In his famous Lenten sermon “The Cross of Christ the Measure of the World”, Blessed John Henry Newman says:

How are we to look at things? This is the question that all people of observation ask themselves, and answer each in his own way. They wish to think by rule; by something within them, which may harmonise and adjust, what is without them. Now let me ask, what is … given us by revelation to estimate and measure this world by? The event of this season – the crucifixion of the Son of God.

Newman is reminding us that the suffering and death of Christ is the means by which grace and freedom were given to us. He is asking us to look beyond the shadows of this world to the eternal world which will endure for ever. Our Lenten pilgrimage trains us to seek eternity and to mould our lives on the values of the Cross. If Christ’s sacrificial death on the Cross is to be the measure of our lives then it should reach every corner of them and influence everything we do.

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