Welcome to our Bible Study

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Welcome to our Bible
Study
4th Sunday of Lent A
March 30, 2014
In preparation for this Sunday’s Liturgy
As aid in focusing our homilies and sharing
Prepared by Fr. Cielo R. Almazan, OFM
1st reading: 1 Samuel 16,1.6-7.10-13
 1The LORD said to Samuel: "Fill your horn with oil, and be on your way. I
am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king from
among his sons."
 6 As they came, he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD'S
anointed is here before him." 7 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."
 10 In the same way Jesse presented seven sons before Samuel, but
Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen any one of these."
 11 Then Samuel asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" Jesse
replied, "There is still the youngest, who is tending the sheep." Samuel said
to Jesse, "Send for him; we will not begin the sacrificial banquet until he
arrives here." 12 Jesse sent and had the young man brought to them. He
was ruddy, a youth handsome to behold and making a splendid
appearance. The LORD said, "There-- anoint him, for this is he!" 13 Then
Samuel, with the horn of oil in hand, anointed him in the midst of his
brothers; and from that day on, the spirit of the LORD rushed upon David.
When Samuel took his leave, he went to Ramah.
The focus is on the anointing of David as king.
1st reading: 1 Samuel 16,1.6-7.10-13
 1The LORD said to Samuel: "Fill your
horn with oil, and be on your way. I
am sending you to Jesse of
Bethlehem, for I have chosen my king
from among his sons."
 6 As they came, he looked at Eliab
and thought, "Surely the LORD'S
anointed is here before him." 7 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."
 10 In the same way Jesse presented
seven sons before Samuel, but
Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD
has not chosen any one of these."
Commentary
 In v.1, God asks the prophet
Samuel (last of the judges) to
anoint the second king of
Israel. The first is Saul.
 The next king will be a son of
Jesse of Bethlehem.
 In v.6, Samuel immediately
assumed that Eliab, one of the
sons of Jesse, will be anointed
because of his good looks.
 But in v.7, God clarifies that he
has not chosen Eliab.
 God teaches Samuel that God
does not judge by
appearances, but looks into
the heart.
 V.10 repeats God’s standards.
1st reading: 1 Samuel 16,1.6-7.10-13

11 Then Samuel asked
Jesse, "Are these all the
sons you have?" Jesse
replied, "There is still the
youngest, who is tending
the sheep." Samuel said to
Jesse, "Send for him; we
will not begin the sacrificial
banquet until he arrives
here." 12 Jesse sent and
had the young man brought
to them. He was ruddy, a
youth handsome to behold
and making a splendid
appearance. The LORD
said, "There-- anoint him,
for this is he!" 13 Then
Samuel, with the horn of oil
in hand, anointed him in the
midst of his brothers; and
from that day on, the spirit
of the LORD rushed upon
David. When Samuel took
his leave, he went to
Ramah.
 In v.11, possibilities seem to have
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been exhausted. But there is one
more son somewhere out in the fields
tending the sheep. Jesse calls for him.
V.12 describes the son as ruddy,
young, handsome, splendid
appearance.
Aba! We thought God is not interested
in external appearances. Maybe this
boy has a good heart. He is a good
material to rule Israel.
God commands Samuel to anoint him.
In v.13, Samuel obeys.
The spirit of the Lord, through the
anointing, rushes upon David.
Reflections on the 1st reading
 When choosing leaders, God looks at the heart.
 God judges not by appearances but by the heart.
 We must not be too preoccupied with our
external appearances.
 We must be concerned more about what is
inside us.
 As leaders (anointed or assigned), do we have a
loving heart? Are we compassionate?
 Can we rule our families with love and affection?
Resp. Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
 R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
 1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
3a he refreshes my soul.
 3b He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
 5 You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
 6 Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
Resp. Ps 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not
want.
2 In verdant pastures he gives me
repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
3a he refreshes my soul.
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3b He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
5 You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Only goodness and kindness follow
me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the
LORD
for years to come.
Commentary
 V.1 affirms that God is a good
shepherd.
 Vv.2-4a enumerate what God does
as a shepherd in the third person:
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He gives me repose (rest), v.2a
He leads me beside restful waters,
v.2b
He refreshes my soul, v.3a
He guides me, v. 3b
 Vv.4-5 enumerate what God does in
the second person:
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You are at my side, I don’t fear. V.4
Your rod and staff give me courage.
V.4
You spread the table… v.5a
You anoint my head… v.5b
 In v.6, the psalmist feels assured /
safe all the days of his life.
Reflections on the Psalm
 God is a good provider.
 God shows us the way where we can get
sustenance.
 God guides us.
 With his wisdom and might, he protects us.
 Can you appropriate this Psalm?
 Can you say to yourself, “God is my
shepherd?”
 Say it now.
2nd reading: Ephesians 5,8-14
 8 Once you were darkness, but now you are light in
the Lord. Live as children of light, 9 for light produces
every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.
10 Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take
no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather
expose them, 12 for it is shameful even to mention
the things done by them in secret; 13 but everything
exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for
everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it
says: "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light."
The focus is living in the light.
2nd reading: Ephesians 5,8-14
 8 Once you were darkness,
but now you are light in the
Lord. Live as children of
light, 9 for light produces
every kind of goodness and
righteousness and truth. 10
Try to learn what is pleasing
to the Lord. 11 Take no part
in the fruitless works of
darkness; rather expose
them, 12 for it is shameful
even to mention the things
done by them in secret; 13
but everything exposed by
the light becomes visible,
14 for everything that
becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says: "Awake,
O sleeper, and arise from
the dead, and Christ will
give you light."
Commentary
 The author reminds Christians that
they are now the light. So they
have to live in the light, out of which
come goodness, righteousness and
truth. Vv.8-9.
 V.10 commands us to seek ways to
please God.
 There is no clear formula to please
God. It is a matter of discernment.
 In v.11, to live in the light is to avoid
participating in the works of
darkness (sinful acts), which do not
produce any good.
 “Expose them” is an imperative to
put them to the light (to stop them,
to correct them).
2nd reading: Ephesians 5,8-14

8 Once you were
darkness, but now you
are light in the Lord. Live
as children of light, 9 for
light produces every kind
of goodness and
righteousness and truth.
10 Try to learn what is
pleasing to the Lord. 11
Take no part in the
fruitless works of
darkness; rather expose
them, 12 for it is
shameful even to
mention the things done
by them in secret; 13 but
everything exposed by
the light becomes visible,
14 for everything that
becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:
"Awake, O sleeper, and
arise from the dead, and
Christ will give you light."
 V.12 says that things done in
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darkness, even in secret, are
shameful. They are things to be
ashamed of.
Vv.13-14 return to the theme of
light. Light is a powerful antidote to
those who live in darkness.
Light puts everything into good
light.
Those in darkness are described to
be “sleepers” and “dead.”
Christ is the giver of light to those
who are asleep but choose to arise
from darkness…
Reflections on the 2nd reading
 Christians should choose to live in the light.
 We must do everything to please God.
 We do not do shameful acts, even if done in
secret or private.
 Christians must also be prophetic. They
should expose the works of darkness.
 Do you speak on behalf of God or your
Church?
Gospel reading: John 9,1-41
 1 As he passed by he
saw a man blind from
birth. 2 His disciples
asked him, "Rabbi,
who sinned, this man
or his parents, that
he was born blind?"
3 Jesus answered,
"Neither he nor his
parents sinned; it is
so that the works of
God might be made
visible through him.
4 We have to do the
works of the one who
sent me while it is
day. Night is coming
when no one can
work. 5 While I am in
the world, I am the
light of the world."
Commentary
 The reading revolves around the blind man.
 Jesus’ disciples ask whose sin caused his
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blindness from birth, his or his parents. V.2
Jesus’ answer is neither: he is blind that the
works of God be made visible through him.
V.3
Jesus affirms his mission to do the works
of his Father while it is day, meaning while
he is still in the world. V.4
In John’s gospel, we must seek the deeper
meaning of light, in contrast to darkness.
 Darkness means being blind, presence
of sin, night, cannot work.
 Light means ability to see, makes the
works of God visible.
Jesus himself is the light of the world. V.5
He will make the blind man see the light / to
see him.
 6 When he had
said this, he spat
on the ground
and made clay
with the saliva,
and smeared the
clay on his eyes,
7 and said to him,
"Go wash in the
Pool of Siloam"
(which means
Sent). So he went
and washed, and
came back able to
see.
 Jesus prepares to make a miracle. V.6
He spits on the ground.
 He makes clay with his saliva.
 He smears the clay on the man’s eyes.
Why all these unusual actions?
Ground and clay remind us of the creation of
human beings in Genesis.
There was no saliva involved in the creation,
but breathe.
These elements are used for healing now.
Jesus commands him to wash in the Pool of
Siloam. V.7
The man obeys and comes back able to see.
There is immediate effect on the actions
(works) of Jesus and his obedience.
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 8 His neighbors and
those who had seen
him earlier as a beggar
said, "Isn't this the one
who used to sit and
beg?" 9 Some said, "It
is," but others said,
"No, he just looks like
him." He said, "I am."
 10 So they said to him,
"(So) how were your
eyes opened?" 11 He
replied, "The man
called Jesus made clay
and anointed my eyes
and told me, 'Go to
Siloam and wash.' So I
went there and washed
and was able to see."
12 And they said to
him, "Where is he?" He
said, "I don't know." 13
They brought the one
who was once blind to
the Pharisees.
 The healing of the blind starts another
controversy on the man’s identity. His
neighbors and others who witness, ask:
 Isn’t he the beggar? V.8
 Doesn’t he look like him? V.9
 The man (identified as beggar) affirms that
he is the one and the same person who was
blind but now can see. V.9
 In v.10, they pose another question “How
were your eyes opened?” to which he
answers repeating what Jesus has done to
him and what he has done in obedience to
him.
 In v.12, they pose another question. “Where
is he?” meaning Jesus.
 V.13 says that they bring the man, once blind,
to the Pharisees. Why?
 The controversy builds up.
 They make the problem bigger.
 14 Now Jesus had
made clay and
opened his eyes on a
sabbath. 15 So then
the Pharisees also
asked him how he
was able to see. He
said to them, "He put
clay on my eyes, and
I washed, and now I
can see.“
 16 So some of the
Pharisees said, "This
man is not from God,
because he does not
keep the sabbath."
(But) others said,
"How can a sinful
man do such signs?"
And there was a
division among
them.
 True enough, the controversy
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escalates.
V.14 adds one more element that
heats up the issue: the Sabbath.
The Pharisees ask the same
question.
The man repeats his answer. V.15
The Pharisees discredit the one
who healed him as one not coming
from God because he does not
keep the Sabbath.
This brings division between those
who believe that the healer comes
from God, and those who do not,
like the Pharisees. V.16
 The Pharisees induce him to
 17 So they said to
the blind man
again, "What do
you have to say
about him, since
he opened your
eyes?" He said,
"He is a prophet."
say something about Jesus, by
posing another question.
 The man’s answer affirms that
Jesus is a prophet, meaning he
comes from God. He cannot
have his eyes open if the man
does not come from God.
 Certainly, his answer will create
an outrage among the
Pharisees, the guardians of the
law.
 18 Now the Jews did
not believe that he had
been blind and gained
his sight until they
summoned the parents
of the one who had
gained his sight. 19
They asked them, "Is
this your son, who you
say was born blind?
How does he now
see?" 20 His parents
answered and said,
"We know that this is
our son and that he
was born blind. 21 We
do not know how he
sees now, nor do we
know who opened his
eyes. Ask him, he is of
age; he can speak for
him self."
 In v.18, the subject is the Jews, not
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the Pharisees, although they are
included here.
In v.18, the Jews discredit the man
who was once blind, but now sees.
They call his parents. Now their
questioning takes a toll on his
parents, who have been quiet.
They pose the same question on
them.
The parents affirm what their son /
the blind man, has been claiming.
 The author tries to explain the
 22 His parents
said this because
they were afraid
of the Jews, for
the Jews had
already agreed
that if anyone
acknowledged
him as the
Messiah, he
would be
expelled from the
synagogue. 23
For this reason
his parents said,
"He is of age;
question him."
predicament of his parents.
 They are afraid.
 They want to evade the question.
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By answering, they also may reveal
their dangerous position.
They might make a mistake in
acknowledging Jesus as the
Messiah.
 24 So a second time
they called the man
who had been blind
and said to him,
"Give God the
praise! We know that
this man is a
sinner." 25 He
replied, "If he is a
sinner, I do not
know. One thing I do
know is that I was
blind and now I see."
26 So they said to
him, "What did he do
to you? How did he
open your eyes?"
27 He answered
them, "I told you
already and you did
not listen. Why do
you want to hear it
again? Do you want
to become his
disciples, too?"
 The Jews try to brainwash the man,
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that the one who opened his eyes is a
sinner.
The man does not agree with them.
He sticks to his facts and does not
agree with the Jews.
Again the Jews ask the same
question.
Now the man shows discomfort. He
asks irritating questions:
 Why do you want to hear it again?
 Do you want to become his
disciples?
He wants to stop their investigation
which is leading nowhere but the
condemnation of Jesus.
 28 They
ridiculed him
and said, "You
are that man's
disciple; we are
disciples of
Moses! 29 We
know that God
spoke to Moses,
but we do not
know where this
one is from."
 The Jews react.
 They claim they belong to a better
/ surer affinity:
 To Moses, to whom God spoke
 The man belongs:
 To the unknown man, uncertain
where he comes from.
 30 The man answered
and said to them, "This
is what is so amazing,
that you do not know
where he is from, yet
he opened my eyes. 31
We know that God does
not listen to sinners,
but if one is devout and
does his will, he listens
to him. 32 It is unheard
of that anyone ever
opened the eyes of a
person born blind. 33 If
this man were not from
God, he would not be
able to do anything."
34 They answered and
said to him, "You were
born totally in sin, and
are you trying to teach
us?" Then they threw
him out.
 Now the man fights back.
 He accuses the Jews of making wrong
conclusions. They are not reading,
interpreting the event correctly.
 He profounds his theology: God does not
listen to sinners.
 He expands his understanding on Jesus:
 Jesus is not a sinner.
 Jesus does the will of God.
 He comes from God, that’s why he can do
everything.
 The Jews (Pharisees) assert their authority.
They feel insulted.
 They condemn him.
 They disqualify him as one who can also
teach.
 They throw him out. They become violent.
 35 When Jesus heard
that they had thrown
him out, he found him
and said, "Do you
believe in the Son of
Man?" 36 He
answered and said,
"Who is he, sir, that I
may believe in him?"
37 Jesus said to him,
"You have seen him
and the one speaking
with you is he." 38 He
said, "I do believe,
Lord," and he
worshiped him. 39
Then Jesus said, "I
came into this world
for judgment, so that
those who do not see
might see, and those
who do see might
become blind."
 At this moment of rejection, Jesus comes to
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him again.
Jesus talks to him after all the suspicious
questionings of the Jews.
It is Jesus’ turn. He asks if he believes in the
Son of Man.
Now Jesus is presented, not just as a
prophet, Messiah, but the Son of Man.
The man believes in the Son of Man and
Jesus reveals himself to be he.
The man worships him.
V.39 forms the conclusion. Jesus comes to
bring judgment into the world:
 Making the blind see (and those who see,
blind).
Jesus takes care of his believers by allowing
them to see.
 40 Some of the
Pharisees who
were with him
heard this and said
to him, "Surely we
are not also blind,
are we?" 41 Jesus
said to them, "If
you were blind, you
would have no sin;
but now you are
saying, 'We see,'
so your sin
remains.
 Some of the Pharisees react but
on a different level.
 Jesus stays put in his position that
the Pharisees are not innocent.
They claim they see, but are blind.
 They live in sin.
 Jesus is the judge. He is the
authority who can say whether
one is a sinner or not.
Reflections on the gospel reading
 The gospel story unconditionally invites us to
believe in Jesus.
 We ask God to heal our blindness.
 We are called to see the light.
 The light is Jesus as the Messiah (anointed).
 We live in darkness if we reject Jesus.
 We should also be prepared to answer the
questionings of those who don’t believe.
 This is the sterling time to give witness to the
light.
Tying the 3 readings and the Psalm
 The first reading is about the anointing of David as
shepherd-king of Israel.
 The psalm talks about God as a shepherd who
anoints.
 The second reading is about living in the light.
 The gospel reading is accepting Jesus as the
Messiah (anointed).
We should adopt the theme of light in our preaching.
How to develop your homily / sharing
 The message of this Sunday’s liturgy for us,
Christians, is to live in the light.
 The conversion that the Season of Lent is
asking us is to live in the light.
 What is to live in the light?
 When do we know we are living in the light?
 To live in the light, the first reading encourages us to use
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the optic of God to consider our brothers and sisters.
We should not get stuck with external appearances,
when we are choosing our leaders.
There is more to external looks. We must be able to
appreciate the other by looking at the heart, which we
can do if we, too, use our hearts.
We are challenged to relate with one another, heart to
heart, to consider our core values.
That is living in the light.
 The second reading teaches that we, Christians, are
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now living in the light of Christ. Before we became
Christians, we were living in darkness. (We were
Christless).
As Christians who have received the light, we must
do our prophetic work.
We expose those in darkness and their works.
We give light to ward off the elements of darkness.
It is our task to make all the inhabitants on this earth
live in light.
Living in the light is to boldly expose the evil deeds of
others.
 The gospel reading affirms that Jesus is the
light of the world.
 As the light of the world, Jesus opens the
eyes of the blind man.
 He enables the man to acknowledge
(enlightens) him before the Pharisees as the
Son of God and the Messiah.
 We, too, must acknowledge Jesus as our light
and Messiah.
 How do we know if we are living in the light or not?
 One can be blinded by his fixation, old beliefs and
comforts, by wealth, power and popularity.
 Living in darkness (blindness) is manifested in sinful
living.

Living without morals, without moderation, without love
for others, without respect for others, without
compassion, without truth and freedom and God.
 Living in darkness means emphasis on externals and
on trivial things.
 Living in darkness is living in sin.
 In the eucharist, Jesus radiates in us and
overcomes the forces of darkness in us. He
comes to heal our blindness.
 In the eucharist, Jesus sees the deepest
recesses of our hearts.
 In the eucharist, Jesus allows us to see more
and appreciate more the things around us.
Our Context of Sin and Grace
 Judges by appearances
 Very conscious of one’s
looks
 Unable to give up vices
and sinful lifestyle
 Loose morals
 Living in the light
 Morally upright
 Organizations for the
Blind
 Strong prophetism in
the Church
Suggested Songs
 Biyayang Mula Sa iyo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxbmC_LVJrQ
 Walk in the Light
 Light

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Bsw3Y5WZ8
 The Lord is My Shepherd
 My Light and My Salvation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ekQdpjS4VA
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