January 16, 2011
ORDINARY 2 (A)
Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. – John 1: 29
A man underwent major surgery after some years of blindness. The operation was a success to the extent that he could now see with heavy lenses. When he arrived home from the hospital, he immediately set out to fulfill a long time ambition: to stroll alone through the neighborhood.
But after walking for just a few minutes he rushed back to the house, threw himself on his bed & buried his face in a pillow. His concerned wife asked what had gone wrong. He replied, “I couldn’t take anymore. The light hurt my eyes but it wasn’t that so much as the beauty. There was so much beauty that I could not take it all in a single dose – human forms; children’s faces; faces of old people; trees & flowers & birds & clouds & the sky. I couldn’t absorb so much light & so much beauty.”
I suspect many of us react like that to Christ. We are blinded by His light & beauty & when we do get a glimpse of who He is we are overwhelmed. When we really see Jesus as the Son of God, we see the light at its brightest & at its rarest. We see all the goodness of God sharply focused in Him & it can be unnerving. The Lamb of God who dazzles & comforts & heals & works miracles, & takes away the sins of the world! But that is only the beginning. We must get hold of this reality in an intimate way.
By virtue of our baptism, this Christ dwells in us. Our hope of glory is not to live serenely, not to write books or invent machines & become famous. Our hope of glory is to grasp, to embrace the living Christ within us to the extent that He permeates our mind, our emotions, our body & our soul so that He can shape us into the beautiful person God intends us to be.
St. Paul puts it this way: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy & beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness & patience, bearing with one another & forgiving one another. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts … & be thankful” (Col. 3: 12-15).
At creation, the first thing God did was to create light to dispel the darkness. In psalm 27: 1, “The Lord is my light & my salvation; whom shall I fear?” In the midst of all his suffering & questioning, Job still managed to say, “By his light I walked through darkness” (Job 29: 3). Isaiah tells us, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (9: 1). Do we embrace the Lamb of God who is the light of lights, or do we shrink away from Him & look for a place to hide.
There is a real darkness that enmeshes us finite beings. Why do we get depressed for no apparent reason? Why do we hurt the people we love so much? Why do we do the things we do? We feel the threat of the darkness & don’t know how to deal with it. Then in His great love, God sends the light to dispel the darkness. The rest is up to us. AMEN!