4th Sunday of Lent: Called to Live in the Light
So they sent for the boy, a ruddy youth with bright eyes, and handsome to behold. Yhwh said, “Rise and anoint this one.”
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed the boy in the presence of his brothers, and from that day forward the Spirit of Yhwh came upon David and was with him. Then Samuel set out on his way to Ramah.
I Samuel 16:12-13
We begin our journeys with the vim and vigor of youth. We were chosen and blessed by God to continue to build God’s reign on earth.
As we travel life’s journey, believing in the transforming power of God, we also experience its temptations and its grumblings, its moments of youthful joy and its moments of darkness. We also realize a caring, loving God has shepherded us in good times and in bad, in darkness and in light, in times of exuberance and in times of diminishment.
In Baptism all of us have been anointed and the Spirit of God is with us. The Spirit of God is dynamic divine action. Those seized by the Spirit, as David was, are empowered to be leaders, some in positional leadership, others in ministerial leadership, still others in the compassionate leadership that brings forth rich community life. Some are leaders in helping others to see the unfolding oneness of the universe and gain new insight from the melding of theology and science.
Yhwh, you are my shepherd—I want nothing more.
You let me lie down in green meadows:
You lead me beside restful waters;
You refresh my soul.
You guide me to lush pastures
For the sake of your Name.
Even if I’m surrounded by shadows of Death,
I fear no danger, for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff—They give me courage.
You spread a table for me
In the presence of my enemies,
And you anoint my head with oil—My cup overflows!
Only goodness and love will follow me
All the days of my life,
And I will dwell in your house, Yhwh,
For days without end.
Given your experiences, what words from the Psalm particularly spoke to you today? Note that God is often our Shepherd working through other people—people like all of us who share in the divine life of God.
When have you experienced God as a protector?
How has God given you courage? strengthened you to be a leader?
When have you experienced God as refreshing your life? Notice how the psalmist paints a picture of a carefree life style, peaceful with abundant fruitfulness. The image of the Shepherd–God’s care–is very intimate. It points to a oneness with God and a lasting covenant commitment.
Light was one of Jesus’ favorite images. He saw himself as the Light of the World (John 8:12) and he called each of us to be light to the world (Matthew 5:14). Paul also uses the image of light to connect us with Christ and goodness, justice and truth.
There was a time when you were darkness, but now you are light in Christ. Live as children of the light
Light produces every kind of goodness, justice and truth. Be correct in your judgment of what pleases our Savior. Take no part in deeds done in darkness, which bear no fruit; rather, expose them. It’s shameful even to mention the things these people do in secret; but when such deeds are exposed and seen in the light of day, everything that becomes visible is light.
This week we have reflected on the anointing of David, our own anointing at Baptism, the kind, gentle and affirming leadership of the Shepherd, our call to participate in the evolutionary process as citizens of the universe and promoters of the reign of God as well as our call to share in the cosmic light that unites us to each other and our incarnate God.
Which of these threads did you find most insightful? Which most challenging? And which most enriching? What has been your major learning during this Lenten journey so far?