Jesus the Light of the World
One of the imageries Jesus uses to describe himself in the gospel of John is that of “light of the world. In the gospel of today, Jesus tells us that “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5). Earlier in this gospel, Jesus Christ using the same imagery says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12.) As followers of Jesus, we are called from darkness into the light of Christ, the light of life. This invitation to light is emphasized both in today’s gospel and in the second reading from Ephesians.
In the gospel of today, the healing of the blind man teaches us about that move from darkness to light. While the healing of the blind man in the gospel is a physical healing, it is also a story of spiritual healing. It mirrors the gospel story of last week, the Samaritan woman at the well. She first recognized Jesus Christ as a Jew, then as a prophet and finally as the Son of God. The blind man in today’s gospel first recognized Jesus Christ as a man, then as a prophet, then as someone from God. Finally, he believes in Jesus as the Son of Man. The more he encountered Jesus Christ, the more Christ revealed himself to him. The light of Christ showed him truly who Jesus Christ was. As Christian people, we need this light of Christ in order for us to get to know who Jesus Christ is and to see clearly his plan for our lives.
Without the light of Christ, St. Paul tells us in Ephesians, we are darkness. By virtue of what God has done in Jesus through his passion, death and resurrection, we have been adopted as sons and daughters of God. This adoption does not only guarantee us to walk in the light of Christ; it does not only make us children of the light, but we actually become the light of the Lord. For St. Paul, light is completely in opposition to darkness. Our call into light is a radical call which Christians must not return to. Living in darkness is a life of slavery, while the light of life is that of freedom. That is the reason he says to the people of Galatians that at a time when they did not know God, they were slaves to darkness, now that they have come to know God, or God has rather come to know them, why will they want to turn back again to darkness. (Galatians 4.)
The major concern for St. Paul is that Christians should live as people of the light and not as those of darkness. He has a problem with Christians living double lives: the visible life which everyone sees, most especially members of the Christian community, and the hidden lives in which, if it is possible, they will even want to hide from God. Our lives must be through and through, lives of light. As children of light, we must break from darkness. In 1John 1: 5, we are told, “God is light and in him there is no darkness. If we say we have fellowship with him and continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth.” How easy it is for us sometimes to act self-righteously in public while we continue to live a life of darkness. St. John says these people are only deceiving themselves. Our fellowship with Jesus, is a fellowship with the light, darkness has no place in that fellowship. If you are trying to play for the two teams at the same time: team light and team darkness, you are not only deceiving yourself, but you are actually making a fool of yourself.
St. Paul gives us three fruits of light: goodness, righteousness and truth. Christians must not think twice before they reach out to others. Their lives must be based on that fundamental principle that they are their neighbors keeper. They must die to themselves and live in Christ and generously share their resources with other members of the society. Their actions must always gear towards their neighbors good. Christians must be just in the way they treat others. Their decisions must not be based on public opinion. It is said that “majority does not make right.” Christians should not take advantage of other people. Christians must always stand for the truth. In his letter to Titus, St. Paul adds some other effects of a life lived in truth: temperate, dignified, self controlled, sound in faith, love and endurance. (Titus 2:1-8)
During this season of Lent, as we prepare to meet Christ the Light of the world at Easter, let us look into our lives and see where there are still shades of darkness. Let us get ourselves ready, so that at Easter, we can truly profess our identity, as children of the Light.