Mass Readings for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A
- First Reading – 1 Samuel 16:1B, 6-7, 10-13A: Samuel is sent by the Lord to anoint one of Jesse's sons as the new king of Israel, replacing Saul. Initially, Samuel believes that Eliab, Jesse's eldest son, must be the chosen one, but the Lord reveals to him that he looks at the heart, not outward appearances, and leads him to anoint David, the youngest son, who is a shepherd.
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 23: The Lord is a faithful and loving shepherd who provides for and protects his sheep. The psalmist describes the Lord's provision of green pastures and still waters, his guidance through dark valleys, and his comforting presence, and concludes by affirming his confidence in the Lord's goodness and mercy throughout his life.
- Second Reading – Ephesians 5:8-14: Believers should live as children of light, putting aside the works of darkness and walking in the ways of righteousness. The passage emphasizes the importance of exposing and reproving evil deeds, and notes that everything that is exposed by the light becomes visible and that Christ will shine on those who follow him.
- Gospel - John 9:1-41: Jesus heals a man who was born blind, but the Pharisees are skeptical and investigate the miracle. They interrogate the man and his parents, and ultimately cast the man out for declaring his belief in Jesus as the Son of God.
What Are the Themes for the Mass Readings for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A?
The readings for the Fourth Sunday of Lent Year A, which focus on the themes of sight and blindness, include the story of the choosing of David as God's anointed one from the first reading. Here, Samuel is told that God does not see us as we do, and that he chooses those who are faithful to him and obedient to his will.
The second reading is a reminder that we must live in the light, not in darkness, and encourages us to live as children of the light, doing what is good, right, and true.
Finally, the Gospel reading tells the story of the man born blind whom Jesus cured, and emphasizes the power of faith in Jesus to bring about healing and salvation This reading highlights the theme of spiritual blindness and sight, as well as the power of faith in Jesus to bring about healing and salvation.
- Light and darkness
- How we see ourselves, others, and God
- Spiritual blindness
- Living as children of the light
Resources for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A
This simple lesson plan is for a youth ministry meeting focused on the problem of hiding yourself to seek popularity. Letting our true selves shine will allow us to be the people God created us to be and will lead us to true joy in Christ.
This seeing the big picture game is designed to help youth understand that it can be disorienting or difficult to understand something if we only see it from a small perspective. It can be difficult for us to understand why the Holy Spirit is leading us somewhere unfamiliar or why the Church has a teaching.
How is my worth related to my social connections? Should I count my current possessions in my worth? Does my earnings potential play a part in the calculation? If these are the sort of questions you are asking, you are completely heading in the wrong direction.
Glow in the dark sidewalk chalk is a fun addition to an nighttime activity. You can use it to welcome youth to the event, write inspirational messages, or let your participants have a creative outlet. Light and darkness is one of the themes for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A.
Glow in the dark dodgeball puts a fun twist on your traditional dodge ball game. Play it at night or if you can darken your gym you can play in any time. This is a great game for an open gym night with your teens.
Glow in the Dark Ring Toss is a fun easy game for any "light" themed youth ministry meeting or Vacation Bible School. It only requires a few materials - glow sticks and water bottles. This also goes well with the themes for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A.
Lenten Ideas for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A
Make some votive candle holders. These votive candle holders are easy enough to make that all of the members of your family can help, no matter what their age. These also go well with the light and darkness theme found in the readings for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A.
Consider encouraging your family to give up some video games for Lent. Maybe for a weekend. Maybe for a couple of weekends. Maybe more. Do some discernment together and decide what is best for your family.
If you are looking for a new springtime prayer routine, try to go for a short quiet walk each day and pray. This can be a time to speak to God and even more so to allow God to speak to you.
See specific ideas for practicing prayer, fasting, and almsgiving for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A and throughout the Lenten season.
Homilies and Reflections for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A
A video homily from Bishop Robert Barron for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A. "Friends, on this fourth Sunday of Lent, our Gospel is one of the most magnificent stories in the Gospel of John: the healing of the man born blind. John is a theological master, of course, but also a literary master, and this story is beautifully crafted as a sort of icon of the spiritual life. This is not only a story about something that Jesus did; at a deeper level, this is a story about all of us."
A reflection for Sunday of 4th Sunday of Lent Year A from Jeff Cavins. We don't see people as God does. We often rush to judgement. God doesn't look at the outside, but the heart.
Another homily on the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A from Bishop Robert Barron. "Our first reading for this weekend gives us a glimpse of one of the most powerful texts in the Bible—indeed, one of the truly great literary works that has come down to us from the ancient world. I’m talking about the story that we refer to as first and second Samuel. At the heart of this narrative—rich in theology, psychology, history, politics, human relationships—is the figure of David, who along with Abraham and Moses is one of the most important characters in the Old Testament. And as we look at this passage and meditate upon his story, a number of very important Lenten spiritual themes emerge."
A reflection for Sunday of 4th Sunday of Lent Year A from Scott Hahn. "God’s ways of seeing are not our ways, we hear in today’s First Reading. Jesus illustrates this in the Gospel—as the blind man comes to see and the Pharisees are made blind. The blind man stands for all humanity. 'Born totally in sin,' he is made a new creation by the saving power of Christ." Continue reading.
More Thoughts for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A
The Significance of the Miracle
In the gospel for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A, Jesus uses saliva and dirt to heal the man, very ordinary things. By healing the blind man with a simple gesture, Jesus shows his divine power and authority over creation. The use of spit and dirt, which were considered unclean in Jewish culture, further emphasizes Jesus' ability to transform and sanctify all things.
Some scholars suggest that the use of water and mud in this healing story may symbolize baptism. In early Christianity, baptism was seen as a symbolic washing away of sin and a new birth into a life of faith. Just as the blind man's eyes were opened, so too is baptism seen as a spiritual awakening and renewal.
The story of the man born blind is also significant in terms of theological debates around sin and suffering. In Jewish culture, it was believed that physical disabilities were the result of sin, either of the individual or their parents. However, Jesus challenges this view by stating that the man's blindness was not caused by sin, but rather was an opportunity for God's power to be displayed.
Seeing as God Sees
The first reading tor the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A emphasizes the idea that God sees beyond outward appearances and judges people based on their hearts and faithfulness to Him. This is reflected in verse 7, where God tells Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
The idea of God seeing beyond outward appearances is similar to the concept of spiritual sight or perception, which involves seeing things from God's perspective rather than solely relying on our physical senses. In this sense, the passage encourages us to cultivate spiritual sight, which involves discerning God's will and seeing beyond surface-level appearances to recognize the true nature of things. It also encourages us to trust in God's selection and choosing, even when it may not align with our expectations or perceptions. Therefore, while the passage does not directly relate to physical sight, it does relate to the theme of spiritual sight and perception.
The themes in the second reading also relate to sight in a metaphorical sense, as the passage emphasizes the contrast between light and darkness. The passage encourages us to live as children of the light, which involves walking in goodness, righteousness, and truth, rather than in the darkness of sin and ignorance. The use of light and darkness as metaphors suggests the idea of spiritual sight or perception, as seeing things from God's perspective rather than being blinded by our own desires or selfishness.
The passage also highlights the transformative power of Christ, who enables us to live as children of the light by bringing us out of darkness and into his marvelous light. This suggests the idea of spiritual awakening or illumination, as we are enabled to see and understand things in a new way through our relationship with Christ.
Similarities and Differences Between This Encounter and the Encounter with the Woman at the Well
Last Sunday we heard about the woman at the well. On the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A we hear about the man born blind. Hearing these gospels one after another brings to light parallels, but also significant differences.
Both were outcasts in their society and both encounters involve a transformation. Jesus brings about a significant change in the person's life. For the woman at the well, she becomes a believer and a witness to her community, while the man born blind receives physical healing and spiritual insight.
Both reveal Jesus' true identity: In both encounters, Jesus reveals more about his true identity as the Messiah. To the woman at the well, he declares himself as the "living water" that can quench all thirst, while to the man born blind, he reveals himself as the Son of Man, a title that points to his divinity.
The response of the community is very different though. After the woman at the well encounters Jesus, she goes and tells her community about him, and many come to believe in him. In contrast, after the man born blind is healed, the religious leaders question him and his parents about the healing, and ultimately reject Jesus and his message.
Reflection Questions for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A
- How does Jesus use for healing what is ordinary or even undesirable in my life?
- How do people react when I tell others about Jesus? Does this embolden me or make me cautious?
- In what ways am I spiritually blind?
- Am I quick to judge based on outward appearances, or do I seek to see people as God sees them?
- How has Jesus brought light into my own life and enabled me to see things more clearly?
- What changes do I need to make in my own life to walk more fully in the light?
Social Media Graphic for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A
But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”From the first reading for the 4th Sunday of Lent Year A