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Jesus, Light Versus Darkness


Jesus came as the light of the world amidst its spiritual darkness (Jn 12:35). It fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone” (Isa 9:1; Mt 4:16). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn 8:12).

While healing a man blind from birth, Jesus said, “We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn 9:4-5). Jesus was available for the public only for over three years. Though Jesus continues giving light to the world through his Church, our opportunities and lifespan to make use of that light are short.

Jesus invited the people to walk with him to the destination of eternal salvation. The day will not last long because the sunset happens at the destined time. Since the darkness will overshadow the light, the present is the time to act. If we are late to follow Jesus and idle our Christian responsibilities away, we will miss life’s finest opportunities.

Though darkness is a physical reality, the underlying meaning for Jesus here is the spiritual light. By default, the darkness was in the universe from the beginning. The original source of light was God because He created the sun, the moon, and the stars as early as on the fourth day of creation. From childhood, children need guidance and protection from parents and others. So also, we need spiritual guidance through the Church. Light helps us to follow the way in the right direction. Without Jesus and his representatives, we might end up in spiritual darkness and fall into eternal destruction. While criticizing the Pharisees and the Scribes, Jesus said, “If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit” (Mt 15:14).

Those who believe in Jesus and received his baptism are in the light that helps to move to eternal life. However, the Christian has to keep his light burning with the oil of grace we receive from Jesus through the sacramental life of the Church.

Since God is the source of light, those who live in communion with Jesus and his Church are the children of God, which Jesus calls the “children of light”. While teaching the parable of the dishonest steward (Lk 16:1-8), Jesus used “children of light” for his followers (Lk 16:8b). We must become the reflection of God’s light to non-Christians. Jesus taught, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden” (Mt 5:14). Our good works for others should become the guiding light for the non-believer to reach Jesus, the light of the world (Jn 8:12). Paul advised the Ephesians, “You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth” (Eph 5:8-9). “All of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness” (1 Thess 5:5).

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