From the second reading of the fourth Sunday of Lent we read:
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light Ephesians 5:8
I have been thinking about this idea of being darkness all week, wondering what God was trying to reveal to me in this. Then, yesterday morning as my wife and I got up to go to class, it was about 5:30 in the morning and as usual we get up and start moving around in the dark, getting ready. We had no problem getting around in the dark, our house is very familiar to us. I know where I left my shoes the night before. I know where the coffee table is so I don’t run into it as I make my way to the coffee. This is kind of what it is like to be darkness in the reading today. the darkness represents our sinfulness and our focus on this world and the things of this world. I spent the first 21 years of my life living in the darkness of not knowing God. It was like moving around in my dark house, it was comfortable to me, I did not even realize that I was walking in darkness because it was so much a part of me. But then amazing things started happening.
When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva, and smeared the clay on his eyes, and said to him, “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed, and came back able to see. John 9:6-7
In the gospel today, Jesus comes to the blind beggar. Yes, Jesus comes to him and smeared clay on his eyes and he receives his sight. This is what Jesus offers to all of us, this is what his salvific action in his passion means, that we are invited to see, to no longer be blind and to come out of our darkness. This is not the end of the story though. After this, we have further interaction between the man that was blind and Jesus. Jesus brought him physical sight and now….
They answered and said to him, “You were born totally in sin, and are you trying to teach us?” Then they threw him out.
When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, he found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered and said, “Who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “I do believe, Lord,” and he worshiped him. John 9:34-38
When Jesus invites us out of our darkness, we still have to accept the invitation, just like the man in the story. Our darkness is not completely taken away in this moment of accepting the invitation, we still have to continue to move toward him. This is because we were darkness, our substance and our being was that of darkness, the things of this world. Jesus will start to fill us with his light as we allow him to remove the darkness. This is a process that will take a lifetime due to our sinful nature that will always hold on to some bit of darkness within us. We had a picture of this in last Sundays gospel on the Transfiguration, a glimpse of what awaits us in heaven.
God, please continue to remove the darkness from my heart and help me to be your light in this world. Amen!