Grace to you!
We continue our Christology-based reflections (that is, reflections based on the understanding of the nature of Jesus as the Christ), which we started since last week.
Visualize a man appearing at the Court of Women in the Jerusalem temple about 2000 years ago. It was during the feast of the Tabernacles, a feast also called the feast of “The Illumination of the Temple.” During this feast, elders are orbited in the Court of Women and four very large Candelabra are set. At the thick of the night, the Candelabras are lighted, producing light throughout the night amidst chants and rejoicing to the “light of God.” The light is so bright that those in Jerusalem, not present at the feast, will see it.
Imagine. Close to the time of the lighting of the Candelabra, the man, Jesus, appears at the Court of Women and makes a daring claim, “I am the Light of the World; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life” (Jn 8:12).
Bold! Daring! Stunning truth. This truth is one of the central messages of the Paschal mystery (that is, the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ).
Darkness is one of the most dreaded things for humans. Consider a night without electricity. People will grope in darkness. It will be depressing. Awful.
Shakespearean novels have a way of striking at the core of darkness, as many of the horrific plots were set to take place in the dark.
The writer of the Gospel of John captured in a brief suspense, the mental state of Judas when playing to the ambience of his evil: “So, after receiving the morsel, he (Judas) immediately went out; and darkness had fallen” (Jn 13:30).
We speak of bloody and morally horrifying plays as dark. In darkness, we lose the luster for glory and for praise; our joy is sucked and our spirit is crushed. When darkness fills a soul, the person becomes utterly lonely. Depression isn’t farfetched.
I am not speaking of the darkness the spiritual writers talk about as the dark night of the sprit—the journey of the soul to God, a holy experience. I am likely referring, in part, to the dark night of the senses when we feel the emptiness of the gratifications, which keep us from being completely in the light.
Wanton lust and insatiability, deceit and unbelief, are four of the manifestations of this darkness at the personal level. At the social level, bloodied hand, greed, malice, racism and injustice are some of its traits.
Darkness reigns in any place we see hate, injustice, lies and violence. Amidst these, Jesus Christ answers: “I am the Light.” To the dark world, “I am the Light.” To the depressed soul, “I am the Light.” This is the light which will lighten our soul and bring us to the bosom of divine love.
Lent is a time to rediscover this Light—not the light of the sun or camp-lights, but the Light which in the beginning was, and is with God. The light is God among us, Christ the Lord.
Pray with me: Lord, let your light illumine the darkness of my heart and the world. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Monday, Lent, Week 5: Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30; Jn 8:12-30]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.