Wednesday, April 29, 2015

“The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it's here is up to us.”

Your life is something opaque, not transparent, as long as you look at it in an ordinary human way. But if you hold it up against the light of God's goodness, it shines and turns transparent, radiant and bright. And then you ask yourself in amazement: Is this really my own life I see before me? ~Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875 – 1965: Medical missionary in Africa)

Gospel Text: (JN 12:44-50)
Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me
but also in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.
I came into the world as light,
so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words
has something to judge him: the word that I spoke,
it will condemn him on the last day,
because I did not speak on my own,
but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life.
So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

When you think of someone being condemned, what image comes to mind? A courtroom with a judge hammering his gavel? A stern jury? A pointing finger?

How about a flashlight? If you were trying to hide something, a flashlight would be very good for exposing whatever you were doing. You’d shrink back from it because it condemns you. If you were lost in the woods in the darkness, the flashlight would light the way back to the path, and you’d see its shining beam as your freedom.

Jesus said he came into the world as light. He came to shine his word and his truth into our hearts. But just like the flashlight, Jesus’ light can elicit different reactions, depending on our disposition. If we are open to him and trying to follow him, his light can bring us warmth and insight. It can illuminate our path, correct our missteps, and bring us closer to the salvation we are longing for. But if we are opposed to him, that very same light can feel cold and embarrassing. We might scramble to stay hidden from the light, only showing by our actions that we are rejecting Jesus. In both cases, it’s our own relationship to the Lord and his truth that either saves us or condemns us.

What is one of the best ways to experience the warmth of Jesus’ light? In the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Far from being a means of condemning us, Reconciliation is the perfect way to let the light of Christ probe and illuminate our hearts. Will there be areas that you don’t want to bring into the light? Probably. But remember, he didn’t come to condemn—only to save. So even when he brings your sin to light, remember that his light shines only to heal and restore, not to judge and dismiss.

So let the light shine on you today!

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