(1 John 2:3-11; Psalm 96:1-6; Luke 2:22-35)
“The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining” (from 1 John 2:3-11)
What is your opinion: are things getting better in the world or are they getting worse? And in the Church, are things getting better or worse? Are we watching the darkness pass away, or do we feel it is encroaching upon us more than ever?
St. John upholds the message of Christmas for us and declares optimistically that “the true light is already shining,” and darkness is now losing the battle. Was John just being optimistic or was he declaring the truth?
He goes on to tell us that the true light-darkness battle is about what is going on in the human heart. He says: “Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother remains in the light, and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.”
It sounds to me like John is telling us that though the light has come into the world and the darkness is being defeated, the light switch is in our hands. Our choices have the power to sustain and spread the light. As we watch the darkness of war and terrorism get a grip on our world, we expect that politicians will solve the problem. We wrongly think that the light switch is in their hands.
Let’s remember that each of us is God’s portable lantern in the world. Each time we extend love, the light of Christ brightens and the darkness scatters. And when we let our own hurts and prejudices release the forces of hatred, we diminish the presence of the light.
If we really want to watch the darkness scatter, let’s gather two or three people together in Jesus’ name. He promised that he would be in our midst, a light rising among us. It is in these contexts that we truly learn to love one another and any hatred that might remain in our hearts begins to dissolve.
Do we realize the “light power” that we have? Think of multitude of ways we can come together now. Two or three can gather in someone’s living room, in a coffee shop, on the Internet, or by phone. Let’s be more enterprising in releasing Christ’s light to our dark world. Let’s take on the mission of turning on the lights.
“Splendor and majesty go before him; praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary” (Ps 96:6)