Last week we celebrated the second “Scrutiny Rite” at the 9am mass at St. Rose. These are special prayers that we pray for our catechumens: men, women, and children who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil this year. During the second scrutiny we hear the story of a man that Jesus healed who was blind from birth and reflect on how and why Jesus is the light of the world who enables us to see clearly. I’d like to recap my homily for those who weren’t there because it really resonated with a lot of people and it might resonate with you.
I’m not as terrified of the dark as I should be. The reason is because I’m constantly surrounded by light that I take for granted. Even when the lights are completely off at the rectory (the name for the priest’s house on Church property) I can see well. This is because there is an abundance of light from the street lights as well as the lights that light up our grounds for security. It just isn’t really ever that dark.
Earlier this year we lost power and all the lights went out. It was pitch black, and I was totally unprepared for it. The lights that had helped me see were gone and I couldn’t even walk around the rectory without hurting myself. There were obstacles all over the place that were causing me to trip and causing me to stub my toes. I couldn’t even find a flashlight or even my phone to light the way. I couldn’t tell what time it was. I was disoriented and very uncomfortable.
Some people live their lives like this, morally and spiritually speaking. They are lost and disoriented, unsure of where they fit in the world and unsure of where they are going in life. They stumble upon obstacles and find themselves in places where they wind up getting hurt, if not in a physical sense in an emotional sense. Sometimes they get hurt badly.
This is the sense in which we refer to Jesus as the “light of the world.” The way of life that Jesus reveals helps us understand where we fit in the world. He helps us establish a direction for ourselves. He helps us to recognize obstacles in our way so we can avoid them and so we don’t get hurt. He helps us recognize who is trustworthy so we can establish meaningful relationships.
Sadly, people balk at this. They think to themselves, “Well, I’ve never really gone to Church, I’ve never really read the bible, I’ve never really prayed much, and I’m doing just fine. I get how other people need Jesus, but I don’t.” Well, if that describes the way you think then I think you might have been like me in the rectory in that you take a lot of light for granted.
Even if you do not go to Church and do not pray, you have probably had an awful lot of people in your life who did, like your parents and grandparents. The light that they gave off benefitted you greatly. The way that they taught you to live and the things that they taught you to value has had an impact on you and helped you avoid obstacles and things that can hurt you. Even if you don’t believe it to be the case, Jesus has lit your way through them.
Ad, just like my experience in the rectory, you and your family might be totally unprepared for a moral, spiritual, or cultural blackout when it comes. Ask yourself honest questions. Will your children and grandchildren have enough people in their lives giving off light to guide them? Or will they be as disoriented and confused as the people I described above? I worry about them and I think you should too.
God has done a lot for you, whether you know it or not. Don’t take any of it for granted. Thank God for what he has done for you, and embrace the light that he has given to us through his son who came down from heaven to live among us. Embrace the light by coming to Church and by growing close to God in prayer and learning what he has revealed to us.