This Sunday is Laetare Sunday a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church that takes place on the fourth Sunday of Lent, which falls around the middle of the Lenten season. The name “Laetare” comes from the Latin word for “rejoice,” which is the first word of the entrance antiphon for the Mass on this day. Laetare Sunday is a day of celebration and a brief respite from the penitential character of Lent. The liturgical color for the day is rose, which symbolizes joy and hope in the midst of the Lenten season.
The readings for this Sunday emphasize themes of joy and consolation which are reflected in the eyes of David when he was anointed by Samuel; the joyful tones of psalm 22 “the Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want” and the overwhelming happiness of the blind man whom Jesus healed in the Gospel of John.
On a literal level, the Gospel story tells a miraculous healing of a man who had been blind since birth. However, the story can also be understood symbolically as an allegory for spiritual blindness. Spiritual blindness is a term used to describe our human condition in which many of us are unable to perceive or understand spiritual truths or what God is doing in our lives. It is the inability to see beyond the material world and the unwillingness to peel the next layer of the onion. Spiritual blindness can manifest in different ways, such as an inability to recognize or appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature, a lack of empathy or compassion towards others, or an over-reliance on material possessions and external circumstances for happiness and fulfilment.
We often take things for granted that we are blind to recognise God’s love through the ordinariness of life. Looking through the window on a rainy day with a hot cup of tea or driving home to our loved ones after a long day at work or even waking up each morning. These are the very things that we ought to be grateful for.
Our Gospel this weekend presents us with the ultimate remedy to such blindness. It is JESUS who healed the physical eye of the man in the story and he is now healing our spiritual eyes. He opens our eyes to TRUST in him who is “our SHEPHERD and there is NOTHING we shall want.”