“Opening our hearts – in repentance and contrition – and allowing Him to reveal “the light” of His love and grace in our hearts!”
(Based on Num 21:4-9 and Jn 8: 21-30)
St. Augustine speaks of a conversation, he had, with an unbeliever.
The other man showed him his idol gods and said, “Here is my god; Where is thine?”
He again pointed to the skies and said, “Lo, Here is my god; Where is thine?”
He further showed some of the land creatures and said, “Behold, here is my god; Where is thine?”
“But” St Augustine says, “I showed him not my God;
Not because I had not one to show him, but because he had not eyes to see Him”
Unless one open’s one’s eyes to the Divine realities…
… one cannot see the Divine!
If one chooses to remain closed to the light of Divinity…
… then one continues to remain in the darkness of life!
The Gospel of the Day is the account of Jesus presenting Himself as the Light of the World and his continued debate with the Pharisees, who chose to remain in the darkness of error and ignorance.
Jesus is at the Feast of the Tabernacles (Jn 7: 10)
It is a kind of a harvest festival.
It’s a festival of going up to Jerusalem and join in the festivities with many of the other farmers and vineyard-keepers…
… being grateful and expressing one’s thankfulness to God Yahweh, who has blessed with a good harvest.
In the evening of the Feast day, everyone gets together in the Court of the Women at the Temple to dance and praise God for his goodness.
There is an elaborate ceremony involving the pouring out of water from great pitchers and then the lamps are lit.
Four huge oil lamps are positioned around the courtyard and the priests’ assistants pour great quantities of oil into the bases of them.
Massive wicks are created from the worn-out clothing of the priests and stuffed into the necks.
Darkness falls quickly with very little twilight between the strong sunlight and the rising of the moon, which follows very rapidly at this time of year.
Suddenly the lamps are lit and the whole courtyard is bathed in their light.
A cheer goes up from the revellers and from around the city, as the light can be seen from every part of Jerusalem.
Using the contrast between…
… the glowing exuberance of the brightly lit courtyard
… and the growing darkness in the atmosphere
Jesus makes a loud and bold proclamation:
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8: 12)
But the Pharisees objected and spoke in retort:
“You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony cannot be verified” (Jn 8: 13)
There was a contrast-play, on here….
The Temple was lit brightly
… Jesus declared Himself as the Light of the World
The evening had set and the surroundings were growing darker
… The Pharisees, by rejecting the person of Jesus, chose to remain in darkness!
Jesus was constantly giving witness to the fact that He was the “light of the world”
He brought the light…
… of healing – to those sick and in distress
… of salvation – to those in sin and guilt
… of power and grace – by His words and teachings
But the Pharisees and many of the “creamy class” of the Jewish society, chose to dwell in “darkness”
They remained in the darkness…
… of ignorance – by not being open to the teachings and works of Jesus
… of death – by continuing a life of sin and error and refusing the offer of grace from Jesus
Jesus wishes to be the “light of our life”!
One of the most tragic statements in the Bible reads thus:
“He came to His own, and His own rejected Him” (Jn 1: 11)
What about us?
Do we open our hearts to allow His light to shine through us?
Or do we get stagnant in darkness, and choose to reject His teaching in our life…?
Do we seek the Lord in honesty seeking, to cause His light to shine in our minds?
Or do we remain indifferent in darkness, and get stuck to our pride mentality and lifestyle…?
The people of Israel failed to see the Mighty Hand of the Lord leading and protecting them on their way to the Promised Land.
They got stuck with peripheral and materialistic concerns
… “And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” (Num 21:5)
As a result, they greatly offended the Lord and brought punishment upon themselves.
Yet, the Lord, in His Great Goodness, provided a solution – the bronze serpant – a pre-figurement of the Cross of Christ, which would bring redemption to the whole world!
… “And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live!” (Num 21:8-9)
The Lord comes to us, today…
… proclaiming Himself as the “light of the world”
Let us not remain closed; rather, open our hearts, in repentance and contrition…
… and allow Him to reveal “the light” of His love and grace in our hearts?
God Bless! Live Jesus!