“To be without sight is a hardship and a burden,” said Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., as he preached his homily for the Fourth Sunday of Lent in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Moorestown.
On fourth Sunday of Lent, ‘We are called to be children of the Light,’ Bishop says
During the March 19 Mass, he reflected on the Gospel story of Jesus healing the blind man.
PHOTO GALLERY: Bishop's visit to Moorestown parish The Gospel of John, said Bishop O’Connell, “is often called the ‘gospel of signs.’ Today’s passage is the sixth sign that John describes to us and it is rich with detail. The ‘sign’ of course is the cure, the healing of the man born blind. But it points to an even deeper reality that affects people with and without sight. The reality, the darkness, the blindness that is sin.
“And the true miracle that is Jesus Christ, the ‘light of the world.’ In fact, Jesus reminds the crowd in the Gospel, ‘while I am in the world, I am the light of the world’ … He connects his identity as ‘light of the world’ with the result of his presence: blindness gives way to sight, darkness to light. Those touched by the Lord become believers, turn from sin in their lives, and see all things in the light of Christ.”
Father Jim Grogan, pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel, echoed the Bishop’s encouragement to turn on the light that is Christ. He said, “St. Paul’s second reading to the Ephesians says that we ‘were darkness and we are now light,’ not simply ‘in the light,’ and parishioners were encouraged to be that light in a world that has so many broken aspects to secular life… each person is encouraged to be the Light of Christ in our homes, our workplaces, schools, and playgrounds; to be Christ, Who is light and love, to all our neighbors.”
Bishop O’Connell’s celebration of Mass in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church is part of his planned visits to parishes during the Sundays of Lent. To date he’s visited Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton, on the First Sunday of Lent; St. Alphonsus Parish, Hopewell, on the Second Sunday of Lent, and St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, and St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan, on the Third Sunday of Lent.
During the Mass in Moorestown, Bishop O'Connell looked on as Father James Grogan, pastor, celebrated the Second Scrutiny for Louis Arnold, an Elect in the parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process.
The Bishop also explained about the rose colored vestments the clergy were wearing during the Mass saying, "The Catholic Church refers to the fourth Sunday of Lent as 'Laetare Sunday,' a Latin phrase taken from the prophet Isaiah used to begin the Mass which means 'Rejoice!' The color rose is worn to signify a joyful celebration in the midst of the usual penitential purple."
Bishop O’Connell reminded those gathered that “Jesus’ message, God’s message to us is this: Turn on the light. We are called to be children of the light, brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus. He calls us to holiness, to righteousness, to goodness, to compassion and mercy and love.”
“Parishioners were delighted, as I was, to have Bishop O’Connell with us this Sunday,” said Father Grogan. “From the combined choirs who all wanted to make the liturgy special, to the comments I continue to receive from those who attended the 10 o’clock Mass, each were grateful for Bishop O’Connell’s presence, for his words, and for his humor.
“Priests often have more interaction with our Bishop than the congregation as a whole, and so many of the characteristics of Bishop and his friendly engagement with people came through both in his presiding at Mass, and as he greeted a line of people outside of church,” the pastor continued. “In the weeks leading up to Sunday, many asked me, ‘Why is the Bishop coming?’ and I would answer that he simply wants to visit with the people of the parishes. Those who came to this particular Mass now understand his great desire to be present to the People of our Diocese in our typical parish settings. As the rose vestments this weekend reminded us, this was a cause for great rejoicing!”
Correspondent Christina Leslie contributed to this story.