Sunday Mass 4th in Lent 2020
At the beginning of our gospel reading this morning, Jesus says of himself, ‘I am the light of the world’ (Jn. 9:5). We see how the Lord literally leads a man from darkness to light, from the darkness of blindness to the new life of sight. An important detail of this story is that, unlike some others in the Gospel who sought out the Lord to be healed, this man’s healing was entirely through the initiative of Jesus. The man didn’t seek Jesus; Jesus reached out to him and, as a result, he began to see for the first time in his life. Jesus did not ask about man’s past, what he had done or failed to do; He simply graced him in this extraordinary way.
The risen Lord continues to work in a similar way in all of our lives, too. This will often take the form of leading us out of some kind of darkness towards the light, his light, from despair to hope, from Good Friday to Easter Day.
We can all find ourselves in darkness of one kind or another; indeed we are all now in the darkness of a global and national crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Some of us may also have other additional darknesses with which to deal - the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of health. We may feel that we are not managing things very well, and that things are just too much for us to bear. It is above all in those moments that the Lord comes to us as a light.
In the preceding chapter of St. John’s Gospel (8:12), Jesus says of himself, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.' When we pray for our departed brothers and sisters, we ask that eternal light will shine upon them but as we do so we often forget that that eternal light shines on us – those who are still living - now in and through the presence of the risen Lord with us. He is constantly coming to us as the light of life, so that we need not walk in darkness; darkness need not have the last word: as we were reminded in our responsorial psalm ('If I should walk in the valley of darkness, no evil would I fear' ) All that is asked of us is that we open ourselves to the light of the Lord’s presence. We can do that in prayer, and, in a special way, at the Mass, by joining ourselves – wherever we are - spiritually to this great sacrifice. Our gathering at the Mass – whether we are here in this Chapel, or at home - is a moment when we receive the light of the Lord’s presence and allow ourselves to be illuminated by that light.
Having been illuminated by Christ’s light, we are also infused with that light and infused for a purpose. St. Paul points to this in our second reading from his letter to the Ephesians (5:13) when he says, 'anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light.”' St. Paul is saying that when we open ourselves to the light of the Lord’s presence, we ourselves turn into light; in other words, we become the Lord’s light to others. That is what happened to the blind man cured in the gospel reading. Having been enlightened by Jesus, he became the light of the Lord’s presence to others.
Each one of us is called by the Lord to be the bearer of his light to others.
In this current time of darkness, how might we respond?