While today’s passage from the Gospel of John remains one of the most well known and beloved of all Scripture, the verses that follow indicate the choice that we all have to make. Do we seek Christ, the Light of the world, or do we prefer darkness…because our deeds are evil? May we face our temptations and resolutely follow the Lord, whose light shines in our world and helps us find our way.
The Lord reminds us of two important facts: first, we will encounter tough times for the sake of the Gospel; second, we will be given the grace we need to face them. May the light of Jesus Christ shine in our hearts during dark moments as we seek to follow the Lord through this life.
The Scriptures make it clear that the darkness of sin and evil touches the landscape of human life. Yet our faith proclaims that God’s grace is greater than the darkness, which is cast out by the light of Jesus Christ.
The readings this Sunday all come with an edge to them, signifying that there’s a lot at stake in a life of faith. Take a look:
1st Reading – Jeremiah praises the Lord even as he recognizes the evil of others.
Psalm – “Lord, in your great love answer me.”
2nd Reading – Sin and death came through Adam; grace and peace come through Jesus Christ.
Gospel – The Lord will acknowledge those who acknowledge Him, and he will deny those who deny him.
These readings address the reality of sin and evil in our world. We know this reality through our experience, and whether through our own actions or the actions of others we recognize that the human heart has the capacity for sin.
Yet we also recognize that God’s grace is greater than the darkness. This is why Christ came into the world! Through the Lord’s cross and resurrection we have hope to call upon Heaven for the strength, courage and wisdom we need to face the challenges of life.
Have we sinned? Then we seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Have we been wounded by wickedness and evil? Then we call upon the Lord’s grace.
The triumph of Jesus Christ inspires us to follow the example of Jeremiah and Paul – acknowledging the Lord in this world so that we can be with Him in the next!
Let’s take a quick look at an overview of the readings this week:
1st Reading – Samuel “sees” David and anoints him with the Spirit
Psalm – “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”
2nd Reading – We are children who live in the light of Christ
Gospel – Jesus heals a man who was blind from birth
Images of sight, light, and darkness appear throughout these readings, reminding us of the crucial role our sight plays in daily life. As we rely on our eyes, we recognize light and color as it interacts with our senses and guides much of our action.
God helps Samuel to see – not with human but heavenly eyesight – the qualities that will make David king of Israel; Jesus helps the man born blind to see the face of the living God. Ephesians reminds us that as children of the light we turn away from darkness and live in goodness, while the Psalmist gives us courage to walk in the darkest of valleys…confident that the Lord is at our side.
For we know that the darkness is a part of life; indeed, many of us have had the experience of darkness – where fear, doubt, and indecision hold us in a grip of paralysis – and we understand all too well our sense of loneliness and loss.
The Good News: God restores our sight – helping us to see the Lord at work in our world – and inspires us to direct our thoughts, words and actions by the light of faith. May the Light of Christ open our eyes and guide our steps through this life!
1st Reading – The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light
Psalm – “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
2nd Reading – Agree in what you say, and let there be no divisions among you
Gospel – John the Baptist dies, and Jesus embarks on his public ministry
The 1st reading from the prophet Isaiah, the Psalm, and the Gospel of Matthew all reference light and darkness. The imagery speaks to us on many levels:
Light is necessary for sight
Light brings comfort and consolation
Light is a sign of God’s grace and presence
And yet we know that darkness is also part of our existence. In our modern world we often do all that we can to drive the darkness away, but if you have ever been out in the country (away from all the city lights) you begin to get a sense of what most people were acquainted with through human history.
Things hide in the dark. Crime often occurs in the dark. Fear, anxiety, worry and distress often increase in the darkness. While the darkness is not bad in itself, we often associate it with many challenges and concerns that form the landscape of our our hearts.
Today we hear once again how God’s light casts out all darkness. God’s grace offers us hope, peace, and strength to face the darkness of life with conviction and trust. We know that life is not easy; we face our burdens confident that the Lord will light our way.
Where is the darkness in your life right now? Face it with the light of Jesus Christ! Let the Lord’s light shine in our hearts and lives, offering us the wisdom and direction we need to live our faith today.