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Fourth Sunday of Lent – Repentance and Conversion

Ash Wednesday, Lent Season and Holy Week concept. Christian crosses and ashes on purple background

By Msgr Michael de Verteuil

Chair of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission


Again, this Sunday, there is a choice of readings. Communities which have candidates for Baptism at Easter will use the readings of Year A while others may use Year A or B.


Year A

In the First Reading (1 Sam 16:1, 6–7, 10–13), Samuel is sent by God to anoint a new king of Israel from among the sons of Jesse. As each son is brought before Samuel the Lord tells him that that is not the one. However, the youngest was not called as he was considered too young and unequipped, but the Lord tells Samuel to anoint him, the future King David. How God sees and how humans see is not always the same. Baptism gives us a Christian vision—does how we see, and judge need conversion in this Lenten journey?

The Second Reading (Eph 5:8–14) is full of mention of light and darkness. When we are baptised, a candle is lit and we or our parents are told that we are now enlightened by Christ, and we are to walk always as a child of light and to keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts.

This reading reminds us of this so we can prepare for Baptism or for the renewal of our baptismal commitment at Easter by reflecting on our walk in the light or not, or whether there is any cooperation with futile works of darkness and therefore what repentance and conversion needs to take place.

The Gospel (Jn 9:1–41 or a shortened version) is the story of the man born blind whom Jesus heals. His sight returns when he washes in the water of the Pool of Siloam—a foreshadowing of the new sight, the Christian vision we are given in the waters of Baptism. We are to see the truth of ourselves and others, the truth of the meaning of life, of how we are to use the things of this world, of everything, as we look through the lens of our faith.


Year B

The First Reading (2 Chron 36:14-16, 19-23) sums up the taking of the Israelites into exile in Babylon and their release. There is sin and punishment but there is the mercy of the release from captivity. Mercy and forgiveness are always there for us. Consider going to Confession.

The Second Reading (Eph 2:4–10) reminds us of the love of God shown in the abundance of His mercy and the gift of salvation. It is all God’s work to which we respond by living according to God’s will. We are God’s work of art—God knows our true value and we are called to recognise it by living lives of beauty (of love). Is there any need of repentance and conversion in our lives so we can show more clearly who we are as God’s work of art?

The Gospel (Jn 3:14–21) reminds us of the wonder of God’s love in which Jesus comes to save us and make possible for us the gift of eternal life. The Lord did not come to condemn but to save—but there are those who choose darkness to light. Is there any darkness in our life that we need to walk away from into the light of God’s love? Walk away from all that is not of God as we prepare to enter the light of Easter.