Darkness and Light

Confusion. Times we’re clueless. Subjects in which we pray for “enlightenment,” a journey away from “darkness.”

It’s easy to use the analogies of “light” and “darkness” when academic notions are discussed. “Light” is mastery of the subject. “Darkness” is ignorance. However, when we apply these analogies to the faith and morality, we can no longer speak of “light” as mastery, but as commitment. “Light” becomes faithfulness. “Darkness” becomes rejection.In Jesus’ discourse to Nicodemus, he spoke of “light” and “darkness.” But, the light was not the believer’s commitment to God. The “Light” was Christ, the Father’s commitment to his creation.

This Sunday’s gospel presents Jesus’ final comments to Nicodemus, who visited the Master at night. John used this opportunity to contrast light from dark, salvation from condemnation. He saw the “world” as those who hid from the light (dishonorable) and those who act in the light (the honorable). When this Sunday’s gospel declares that God so loved the world, this is not saying love, but doing love.

God remains patient with us while we struggle with choosing between darkness and light. In the midst of our struggle, it is God who brings us greater belief and leads us to eternal life. Such is the depth of love God has for us.

We experience God’s unbounded love through our forgiving one another, through our care for those who are demeaned, and through our protection of te weak and mistreated We experience God’s unbounded love through the joy we feel in loving family life, through a greater realization of our own goodness. We experience God’s unbounded love in the overwhelming grace of salvation.

What does God ask of us? God asks for the total gift of our lives. We are to love as God has loved us.

You Are the Light of the World

When the well known humorist Erma Bombeck took a university writing course as a young student, one of her assignments was returned to her with a simple but powerful note, ‘You can write!” That comment launched her successful writing career. How often our latent talents are unleashed because of the encouragement of someone else who sees in us what we do not recognize!

In the gospel today, Jesus uses the examples of salt and light to help us understand who we are.  We are salt-we enhance others. We are light-we shine for others. Yet, who we are as disciples only finds its deepest meaning in our relationship with God and others. Just as salt and light are no good in and of themselves, so the good that we do is measured in our relationships with others. Our discipleship is for the sake of others.