Is 8: 23-9: 3, I Cor 1:10-13.17, Mt 4: 12-23
Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,
‘The people who lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who dwelt in darkness and shadow of death, a light has dawned.’ These beautiful words come from the prophets Isaiah. St. Matthew sees them as fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus’ coming was like the dawning of a great light. Indeed, this was how Jesus described his own mission when he said: ‘I am the light of the world.’
Normally light is something we welcome. However, in certain circumstances we might fear it. Why? Because it shows up everything, things we want to see and things we would prefer to keep hidden from others and perhaps even from ourselves.
A woman invited a priest to bless her house. As he performed the blessing, she escorted him around the house. He noticed that everything was immaculate, banisters polished, beds neatly made, not a thing out of place, not a cobweb or speck of dust in sight.
He sprinkled each room with holy water, and they prayed as they went along. Even the two fat cats asleep on the sofa were not spared. He splashed them with water, and one of them jumped up. So the blessing disturbed something in this neat and orderly house.
They blessed the living room, the ‘den’, the kitchen, the laundry room, the bathroom, the bedrooms.
As it happened they finished up at the top of the stairs that led down into the basement. Seeing the priest hesitate there the woman said, ‘Oh, you wouldn’t want to go down there?
So he left it at that. But afterwards he wondered why she had refuse to take him to the parts of the house that needed a blessing. Was it that she didn’t want to embarrass him by taking him down there” or was it that she didn’t want to embarrass herself by letting him see all the junk that was piled up down there?
How typical this is. The parts of ourselves and of our society which most need to be redeemed are parts we tend to hide. For this reason we don’t allow the light to shine into the dark areas of our lives and of our society. Instead, we try to cover them up and hide them away. Yet the dark areas are the ones which have most need of the light, and which could most benefit from it.
Every house, indeed every person, has such a place a ‘basement’ area when old hurts, painful memories and fears are locked away. It enables us to show the world a tidy, even beautiful face while having a real dump somewhere behind the scenes. What can we do about these grubbier parts of ourselves? We could open them to the light of Jesus.
Jesus shed light through his teaching, but more especially through the way he treated people. Many rulers and leaders have brought immense darkness into the lives of others by the harsh and oppressive way they have treated them. Indeed, we ourselves can cause darkness to others in this way. Not so Jesus. How many people came to him in darkness and went away bathed in light.
Still, there were those who refused to acknowledge their need of his light, and so rejected it. We need to acknowledge our darkness and our need of light. This is why Jesus began his preaching with a call to repentance: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ To repent is to admit our darkness, and to open ourselves to the light.
The light of Christ comes as a friend. His light brings healing not hurt, freedom not oppression, life not death. Those who follow Jesus will always have the light of life. By living in it, we become sources of light to others, a lamp for others for their paths.
Peace and all good!
Fr. Valery Burusu