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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, April 3, 2011

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

April 3, Fourth Sunday of Lent

Cycle A Readings:

1) 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a

Psalm 103:1-6

2) Ephesians 5:8-14

Gospel: John 9:1-41

Pearl Barton was a pearl indeed. She was my wife's grandmother, and a woman of advanced age when I first met her in my teens.

By that time, she had outlived her husband by decades. She was treasured as she spent time with first one of her daughters and then the other. They would practically fight over who could keep Mama in their home and for how long. She was much loved.

As she advanced even further into old age, she ceased being able to help much around the house or in the kitchen. To some, she would have appeared to be useless, to have no function, to have lived to be too old. But she had not.

She had been reduced to love. She spoke in a shaky, quivering voice, and called everybody "Honey" in a way that was as sweet as the word itself.

Tradition has handed on to us similar stories of the apostle John. After his exile to the Greek Isle of Patmos and then taking up residence in Ephesus, having reached an advanced old age, John would be brought into the assembly of believers and set in their midst. There he would radiate love by his presence, saying only "Little children, love one another."

That was the way Grandma Barton was. She radiated love at the center of the home of whichever sister had the pleasure of her company at the time.

When her time to go to be with the Lord came, Pearl lay in the hospital bed, unable to communicate with anyone around her, but repeating the words of the 23rd Psalm, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want ..." At the center of her heart were the Scriptures she had put there many years before, Scriptures she had continued to read and meditate upon deep into her old age.

As we approach the end of Lent and await the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord at Easter, we should seek to find in ourselves, the peace that comes from knowing the Lord's presence in our lives. Having emptied our lives of their excesses and our sense of self-satisfaction, let us be ready to see the light of Christ afresh in the joy of the coming season.


What remains as a barrier between you and God that you can tend to in the remaining time of Lent?


"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul" (Psalm 103:2-3a).


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