Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (Jn. 8,12). Jesus,’ the Word Become Flesh’, dwelt among us and showed us the Light of Life. He is ‘the true light which enlightens everyone’ (Jn. 1,9). In him there is no darkness for He is God, and God is Light. Jesus lived the word of the Father and became the light of the world.
Since the Word of God is revealing God’s Nature, it is the Light. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps. 119,105). When we live God’s word, we share God’s Nature, and therefore we become lights, reflecting God’s nature. Whereas WHEN WE DISOBEY GOD’S WORD AND LIVE SELFISHLY, we become darkness, sharing the character of the Evil one.
Hence what is darkness? Disobeying God’s Word, and expressing my selfish nature. Consequently we harm ourselves and others and the effect is passed on to the society and to the coming generations.
We need light when there is darkness. Jesus told the disciples: “You are the light of the world” (Mt. 5,14). The light and darkness which Jesus meant is not the literal light of the day and the darkness of the night. There can be deeds of light and deeds of darkness, as there is kingdom of light and kingdom of darkness. St. John makes it clear: “Whoever says, “I am in the light”, while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness. Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in the light.” (1 Jn. 2,9-10).
Jesus, as the light of the world, came to give His Divine Light into our hearts. He taught about the attitudes of the kingdom of God – which is the kingdom of light – in his Sermon on the Mount. Especially the chapters five, six and seven of the gospel of Mathew, describe the lifestyle of the kingdom of light. Starting with the Beatitudes, he goes on highlightening the values of the kingdom of God which are opposed to the values of this world.
Let us briefly reflect on what Jesus teaches: “Do not be angry with a brother or a sister, do not say to anyone, ‘you fool’, do not commit adultery in thought, word and deed, do not be unfaithful to the partner in marriage, do not swear, do not resist the evil doer, you shall love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do acts of charity in secret and not for publicity, have childlike trust in God who is our Father, pray to Him and trust in Him in all your needs, do not judge nor criticize others……In short, in our dealings with one another he gave us a Golden Rule: “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you”.
Every disciple of Jesus is called to be ‘wise enough to hear these words of his and act on them’ (Mt.7,24). When we live such lives we become light of the world, reflecting the light of Jesus in our lives. Since the gospel teachings of Christ written by the four Evangelists are unfamiliar we are called to be the fifth living gospel. Many people around us are ignorant of the values of the kingdom of light; deliberately or not, knowingly or not, many are living in the kingdom of darkness. As Bl. Mother Teresa has said: “Instead of cursing darkness, let us light a candle”. Instead of getting worried, anxious or disappointed about those who ‘live in the darkness’ of hatred, impurities, greed, jealousy, addictions, occult and the like, let us live the kingdom values and shine as light among them. “The light shines in darkness”. (Jn.1,5). As St. Paul says: “We are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Cor. 2,15). Imbibing the kingdom values fully in his life, he could set his life as a model for others. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor.11,1).
This mission of being the ‘light of the world’ is urgent now, as the darkness is dominating the lives of people much more than ever before. The works of the darkness are manifested in the lives of people in varied ways: “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissentions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing and things like these” (Gal. 5,19-20). Nevertheless, we cannot lose hope. We need to continue doing good, which is ‘our way of life’ (Eph. 2,10).
“For it is God’s will that by doing right we should silence the ignorance of the foolish” (1 Pet. 2,15). We, as the Disciples of Christ, are ‘not to be in darkness; for we are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness” (1 Thess. 5,4-5). We are exhorted to “cloth ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other” (Col. 3,12- 13). Thereby we become a blessing for others. Yes, let us lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light” (Rom13,12).
Let us put on this armour of light, first in our own home/house, then in our neighbourhood, in our places of work and in the society at large, for Jesus said “when you receive the Holy Spirit you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the world” (Acts 1,8). We have only a short life here in this pilgrim land. “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil.3,20). Compared to our eternal life, our life here is just like a drop of water in the ocean. May we be the drops of love, joy, peace and blessing in the life of others, fulfilling the mission entrusted to us – being the ‘light of the world’, which is now groping in darkness of sin, despair, meaninglessness and confusion. Let us follow the footsteps of Jesus who said: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (Jn. 9,5). Yes, I can fulfil this mission only when I am journeying through this land. Let us encourage ourselves daily, while it is still “today”, so that none of us may grow hardened by the deceit of sin” (Heb.3,13).
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works, and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Mt.5,15-16).
Let us sing along:
‘Lord, the light of Your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness shining
Jesus Light of the world shine upon us
Set us free by the truth You now bring us
Shine on me, Shine on me.
Shine, Jesus shine
Fill this land with the Father’s glory
Blaze, Spirit blaze,
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth Your Word,
Lord, and let there be light’.