Fr. René Butler MS - 4th Sunday of Lent - Anointing


(4th Sunday of Lent: 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Ephesians 5:8-14; John 9:1-41)

David was anointed with oil by Samuel, and “from that day on, the spirit of the Lord rushed upon David.” One of the many peaceful images in today’s Psalm is, “You anoint my head with oil.”

Jesus made mud and spread it on the eyes of the blind man. Because of the material used, it is hard to recognize this gesture as anointing. But is hard to see it otherwise when we consider its purpose. Jesus says the man was born blind “so that the works of God might be made visible through him.”

He adds, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” St. Paul applies the same idea to us: “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord... Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness.”

At La Salette, Mary, who was “all light,” empowered two children to accomplish a mission. That, too, was a kind of anointing. And her message reminds us of our Christian identity, sadly neglected by so many of those she calls “my people,” but who are still caught up in darkness.

All of us were anointed in the name of Christ, not once but twice, in the sacrament of Baptism, with the oil of salvation, so that we might “live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.”

Indeed, it is only through the Beautiful Lady’s Son that we can hope to produce, as St. Paul writes, “every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” We can look to Jesus to guide us in right paths for his name’s sake.

The story of the man born blind raises many questions—sixteen, to be exact—most notably: What do you have to say about Jesus? Do you want to be his disciple? Do you believe in the Son of Man? Who is he, that I may believe in him?

We would do well to reflect privately on these questions. It might, however, be more interesting, stimulating and profitable to ask them of each other, perhaps in a time of faith-sharing.

The “La Salette question” is: Do you say your prayers well? In prayer let us present ourselves to be anointed, so that, through us, “the works of God might be made visible.” A noble ambition, indeed!

Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse

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