This week is one of those times when the wisdom of the sequence of our readings offer us a superb message. From Sunday through Tuesday, we have heard the 10th Chapter of John’s gospel, telling us that Jesus is the good Shepherd. Today, we jump ahead to Chapter 12 where we learn just how Jesus acts as shepherd. Today, Jesus tells He is the light that will dispel the darkness.
What comes to your mind when you think of darkness? When I was a very small child, I was accidentally locked in my grandparent’s garage. While my family was searching high and low for me, I was sitting in the dark garage, rocking in my little rocker, too scared to even answer as my name was frantically called out.
It is difficult in our world today to truly experience darkness, but if you have been camping in a desolate place, perhaps you have felt the momentary confusion and fear of being in an unfamiliar place with no light to guide you. Then perhaps a candle was lit or a flashlight was turned on or a garage door was opened! This is the picture Jesus is drawing for us of his role. He is that light. When our world seems darkest, hopeless and we can’t seem to find the right path, turning to Jesus will bring light; Jesus will care for us and show us the way – just as the shepherd cares for his sheep.
Jesus also tell us in this Gospel that he came to save the world- to be light for all!
The first reading, from Acts, tells how Jesus’ light, the Word of God, goes out to all. Jesus calls us to take the light that He has given us and share it with those who can’t see it, who don’t know there is a light. We are told that Saul and Barnabas are sent off to proclaim the word of God. So too we are called to proclaim the word of God by living that Word. And we live the Word by loving God and loving and caring for one another.
Mary Lou Butler ([email protected]) is the interim administrator at Christ the King Passionist Retreat Center, Citrus Heights, California.