by Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ 1 SAMUEL 16:1, 6‑7, 10‑13 FIRST READING
(“In the presence of the Lord God they anointed David king of Israel.”)
- To whom did the Lord speak and who was Samuel? 1 Samuel 16:1, 1 Sam 1:19-22
- Whom did the Lord say he has rejected as king of Israel, where was the Lord sending Samuel, and who has been chosen and from whom has he been chosen? 1 Sam 16:1
- When they came, Samuel looked at whom, and what were his thoughts and who was Eliab? 1 Sam 16:6, 1 Sam 17:13
- What did the Lord say to Samuel; according to what does man see things and into what does God look? 1 Sam 16:7
- How many sons did Jesse present to Samuel, and how many did he have? 1 Samuel 16:10, 1 Samuel 17:12
- What did Samuel tell Jesse about the seven sons; what did Samuel ask Jesse, and what did he reply? 1 Sam 16:10-11
- What was the youngest son doing when Jesse sent for him? 1 Samuel 16:11
- When Jesse sent for him and he came, what was his appearance, and what did the Lord say? 1 Samuel 16:12
- What did Samuel do? 1 Samuel 16:13
- When he was anointed with the oil, what rushed upon him? 1 Sam 16:13
Personal ‑ Have you been anointed by the Lord for a special task? At baptism the Spirit came upon you. How have you released the Spirit within you?
THIRD DAY READ EPHESIANS 5:8‑14 SECOND READING
(“Rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.”)
- What are we in the Lord, and how must we live? Ephesians 5:8
- What does light produce? Ephesians 5:9
- Fill in the following blanks: “Be ____________ in your ________________ of what ___________ the Lord.” Eph. 5:10
- In what must we not take part, and what must we do with them? Ephesians 5:11
- What happens when we mention the things people do in secret? Ephesians 5:12
- What happens to such deeds that are condemned? Eph 5:13
- That is why we read what? Ephesians 5:14, Isaiah 60:1
Personal ‑ We are commanded not to take part in vain deeds done in secret. Examine your conscience. Are you holding on to anything done in secret that was not right? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal this and to bring it into the light. Remember, we are called to live as children of the light.
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 9:1‑41 GOSPEL
(“The blind man went off and washed himself and came away with his sight restored.”)
- As Jesus walked along, what did he see and what did the disciples ask him? John 9:1-2
- Jesus replied that it was neither the man’s sin nor the parents sin that caused the man to be born blind; rather for what purpose and what did he refer to himself? John 9:3-5
- What did Jesus do, what did he tell the man to do, and what was the result? John 9:6-7
Personal‑ When the Lord speaks to you and tells you to do something, are you always obedient, even if it doesn’t seem practical to you? Think about this.
- What did the neighbors and the people who had been accustomed to seeing him beg begin to ask, what was the confusion among them, and what did the man say? John 9:8-9
- As the people questioned the man born blind, what did he answer, what did they do next, and when did this occur? John 12-14
- What was the confusion between them; when the Pharisees addressed the blind man, what did they ask him and what did he answer? John 9:15-17
- What did the Jews refuse to believe, and whom did they summon? John 9:18
- What did the Jews ask the man’s parents, what was their response, and why were they afraid of the Jews? John 9:19-22
- The second time the Jews summoned the man who had been born blind, what did they say to him; what was his answer, and whose disciples did they say they were? John 9:24-30
- To whom did they say God listens? John 9:31
- What was unheard of and what was their doubt? John 9:32-33
- Of what did they accuse the man who had been born blind, and what did they do to him; and when Jesus heard of his expulsion, what did he do, and ask? John 9:34-35
- What was his answer; what did Jesus say to him, what was the man’s answer, and what did he do? John 9:36-38
- What did Jesus say; how did the Pharisees react to this and what was Jesus’ reply? John 9:39-41
Personal ‑ In what way have your eyes been opened to your personal knowledge of Jesus as the Son of the living God? In what way have you bowed down and worshiped and praised God for his great gift to you? Take time to thank and worship him right now where you are.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 23:1‑6
(“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 23:1-6.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
1 SAMUEL 16:1, 6‑7, 10‑13
The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or the height of his stature. The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). Saul was a tall and handsome king, and Samuel may have been looking for someone who looked impressive. But God warned Samuel against judging by appearance.
How many times today do we judge others by the way they look? How many people have been refused work or shelter just because they look different? The difference might be in their manner of dress or even the color of their skin. The Lord tells Samuel that God judges by character, not appearance.
God sees others with the heart, not the eyes. He knows what is going on inside, therefore, only he can accurately judge people. We spend a tremendous amount of time maintaining our outward appearance. We should do even more to develop our inner character. We can do this by spending more time alone with the Lord, praying and meditating with him.
We can improve our inner character by reading, studying and living out God’s holy Word. Everyone can see your face, but only you and God know what your heart really looks like. What is the more attractive part of you? It is good for us to reflect that Saul was the first king of Israel, and he was very popular (1030 B.C.); but he offended God and the kingship was taken from him and his descendants. Samuel chose a very simple shepherd boy to become Israel’s next king. He anointed David with olive oil. The anointing signified that they were God’s representatives now invested with a sacred character. They became “God’s Anointed” and were respected by all. The choice of David, the least likely of Jesse’s sons, is a strong lesson of humility for us and helps us see our own limitations.
Today’s passage is calling us, not only to be called children of the light, but to live as children of the light. The light of Christ that shines in us will be that light which leads others out of their own darkness into a world of light. The way we live is a direct statement of what it is we believe. The morality of a Christian’s life needs to be reflective of God’s love and mercy. Jesus called on us to be more than he called on us to do in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1‑12).
Your example of what a Christian is will not make someone who is in the darkness even more desolate. Instead, it will be the encouragement that they need to come forth into the healing light of Christ. God is calling for his Christian warriors to do more than to avoid evil pleasures. He is calling them to rebuke and even expose them. Too many times our silence in the middle of a dirty joke, obscene movie, or gutter talk is a sign of approval.
God wants us to take a stand for what is right. You are called to lovingly speak out for what is true and right. Today, many of the evils, such as x‑rated movies, pornography, free sex, drug abuse and the break‑down of morality, have taken place because of the attitude: “Let them do their thing as long as it does not affect me.” This attitude has poisoned many countries, and the result has been anarchy, violence, and the banishment of God. Jesus tells us that he is the light of the world and if we follow him, we will not be stumbling in the darkness (John 8:12).
We need to reflect on today’s passage. Paul wrote this to a group of people living in a very worldly place. He knew that many were being tempted to return to their old lifestyle of sin. His message to them is crystal clear to us, that only by living as children of the Light can we really ever be set totally free (John 8:32).
This Gospel story really brings home that “Jesus is the Light of the world.” The Pharisees were opposed to Jesus from the very beginning of his public life. He preached love, mercy and forgiveness; he even ate with the publicans and other sinners considered outcast of society. He was becoming extremely popular because he was not a legalist; rather, he was a compassionate lover of people, and the oppressed and broken recognized this and flocked to him. They could see this because they were looking at his heart. They were not blinded like the Pharisees. The Pharisees looked first at the law and then at the power and wealth of the person. They were “legally blind” in the area of love, compassion and justice.
Today’s Gospel reading is a story of faith, love, pride and prejudice. The blind man was born blind, and he didn’t know how or why he was healed, but he knew he could now see. He believed in the man who gave him sight, and he shared his new faith in him.
Jesus’ love was so strong that even though he knew the opposition was waiting to trap him, the desire to make men free was stronger. Jesus not only gave him bodily light (eyesight), but he also gave him the Light of Faith. The Pharisees tried so hard to discredit Jesus and then the man. Their pride and total lack of humility led them to their prejudicial attitude by attributing the miracle to Satan. The Pharisees even went so far as to excommunicate the man from the community.
The question we need to respond to today is: Do we still refuse to see the truths of God’s revelation brought to its fullness in the teachings of Jesus Christ? Are we still blinded by pride and prejudices of culture and habit? Christ is “the Light of the world” to whom the Pharisees and their followers and many people of today shut their eyes. You are being called to be the world’s light, a city glowing in the night for all to see.
Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father (Matthew 5:14‑16). Remember, it is far better to shine a light than to curse the darkness.
The readings today really bring out the power of God’s chosen and our response. We see that in the first reading. Paul tells us that we are called to be the Light of the world. We see in the Gospel that many followed a blindness far darker than physical loss of eyesight. Jesus shows us that he heals and makes us lights in a world of darkness.
This week, speak out when you know what is being said is untrue. Don’t go along with the crowd. Be yourself. Don’t let foul talk, sinful actions or lying, dim your light. Respond to the needs of others. Be a beacon of truth, don’t shut your light off from the rest of the world.