Christ our light  (John 9:1-41)                             (E.J.Tyler)


   I remember when doing missionary work years ago in Peru I was coming home on  horseback from one of the villages I had been visiting. It fell dark and I had to make the rest of my way back in pitch darkness, on foot, pulling my horse behind me. The ground was rocky and full of bushes impeding my way. There was no moon, no lights anywhere. Finally in the distance I saw the light of a farm. It was a tremendous blessing to see that light, so small, so far, but something to head for, because I simply could not see my way. I had no light in the darkness.

  As fallen human beings generally we do not know that of ourselves we are spiritually in the dark. By that I mean that in the fundamental matters, matters that affect our eternal welfare, we do not realize that of ourselves we are to a large extent blind. It is an extraordinary situation we are in, because it is so unlike our physical sight. We see things with our eyes, and know when we are in the dark and are unable to see at all. But in the important matters of eternal life and death, we can very easily be in the dark while thinking we are in the light - which is to say, we can very easily be in total error or ignorance, while thinking we are completely right and in the know.

  Our Lord in St John's Gospel (ch.9:1-41) tells us quite plainly that there is only one light for the whole world, one light in those things that concern the way to reach God and attain heaven. Without that light the whole world would be in utter darkness. He and only he is that light. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” We tend not to realize this. Consider the numerous religions of man and of how far distant from what Christ has revealed are their teachings. Whatever truth is in them that might relate to our eternal destiny comes from the Spirit of Christ graciously assisting them. Those elements of truth, if they are there, are mere seeds of the word of God scattered there by Christ in his mercy - only seeds by comparison with the full and lush forest of divine truth present in what Christ has entrusted to the Church.

   We, of course, have been profoundly blessed with this light of Christ. Due to his goodness we have been baptised into his family the Church and have received the gift of the Holy Spirit and the light of his grace and his teaching. If we have been faithful, Christ has been present in our lives since our baptism. Sin has been present in our lives to a greater or lesser extent since that great moment of our baptism, nevertheless perhaps we are able to say that mostly we have lived in him who is the only light of the world. Now, it is very easy for us to take this for granted, and we ought not take it for granted. Rather, we ought try to appreciate the immense treasure that we have, this light that is able to flood our minds, our hearts and our souls, the light of Christ. Let us but think of the great numbers who have not this light. Thinking of them, we ought thank God for the gift of our faith putting us in union with Christ the light of the world. But we must resolve to make this light shine and at work within us.

 The great task ahead of each of us is to take concrete steps to allow the light of Christ’s revelation to fill our minds and hearts, and to make the decision to be faithful to it. For this we have the wonderful help of the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity who has been given to us to guide us, to enlighten us with Christ’s teaching, and to inspire us to follow it with all the generosity we can summon. As we look back on our life, we have to recognise that we have allowed ourselves to live too much in the dark. So now we must begin again. We have a wonderful, divine Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, and if we are in the state of grace, he dwells within us as in a temple. We must learn to listen to his guidance. He enlightens our intellect and our conscience as to the meaning and the bearing of Christ’s teaching, and he wishes to inspire us to follow it generously. We must learn to be taught and led by the Holy Spirit, the gift of Christ. Our life must be one that is led by the Spirit of Christ.

  The Holy Spirit is your divine friend and he dwells within you as within his home. He abides there in order to make a saint of you, if you will but be guided by him. He makes you holy by means of the word of God and the sacraments. So you must hear the word of Christ as proclaimed in the Scriptures and in the Church’s preaching and teaching, and devoutly receive the sacraments, especially the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Resolve to be faithful. Be ready to be led. The Holy Spirit is the living spring within us, and within the Church.