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Lent 5th S,April3,11

Lent 5th S, April 3,11


In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about his identity with God the Father and speaks of himself as the Light of the World, the Savior, who has come to redeem mankind. He calls upon his listeners to understand His identity and commit themselves to Him.

The inner area of the Temple contained three Courts. The Easternmost court was the Court of the Women and it contained the Temple treasury. During the Feast of Tabernacles when all the Jews were expected to come to Jerusalem and live in booths, remembering the time they spent in the desert, the Temple would be illuminated with lights and torches. Those lights also reminded them of their expectation of the coming of the Christ.

It is in the background of the lights, standing near the Treasury, during the festival days of the Feast of the Tabernacles, that Jesus announces himself as the Light of the world and asks his listeners to accept this light and not to walk in darkness.

The listeners are earthbound and they do not understand that Jesus is proclaiming himself as the Christ, the hope of their lives and the fulfillment of their dreams. Instead of opening the eyes of their minds and seeing Jesus as the Christ, they begin to question him as to his origin, identity etc. Jesus uses their own legal requirements (Dt.17:6) to show that he is not revealing these great truths on his own authority only but also on the authority of the God the Father. The Father is also testifying on his behalf through the works he is doing and the words he is uttering. To their query as to where his Father is, Jesus tells them that seeing him is seeing the Father. He and the Father are one. He reveals, thus, his identity with God the Father.

But their eyes remain closed. They do not want to accept the news of the salvation. They are unwilling to commit themselves to Jesus.

What does this passage mean for us? Is Jesus the light of our lives? Are we willing to walk in the light of our faith? Are we willing to commit ourselves to Jesus or are we looking for excuses to refuse to commit ourselves to Him?

The decision is ours to make. It is a personal decision. We have to make a choice. We have to decide whether we want to live according to the teachings of the Lord or according to the teachings of the world. Our commitment to Jesus would involve dramatic changes in our outlooks.

Often we don’t enjoy peace and joy in our lives because we are very arrogant and unforgiving. Most of the conflicts in the heart of our families do come from our arrogance and selfishness. We never give God a chance to remake our lives. We never examine our attitudes and decisions in the light of our faith in Jesus.

What is lacking in our lives is this willingness to walk in the light of faith in Jesus Christ. It is sad and disappointing that in spite of the great teachings of Jesus on love and forgiveness, Christians are very remiss in living according to those teachings. Churches and communities, parishes and religious organizations are too much pervaded by the spirit of the world and hence there exist too much division and antagonism among them. We don’t find our people compassionate and forgiving. The compassion and love that come ebbing out of the words of Jesus to the woman caught in adultery “ Don’t sin. I don’t condemn you” are absent from our spiritual vocabulary.

This Lent offers us a golden opportunity to reshape our attitudes and become people of great compassion and love.

Thomas Merton points out beautifully well the impact of love in the following words: “When we love the other, we obtain from God the key to our understanding of who he is and who we are.”


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