I decided this week to begin cleaning the closets and drawers in my bedroom, one at a time! And treasures are found. What I noticed is that I collect coffee cups and candles – cups in all shapes, sizes and candles of various fragrances. Some of the candles I have used on our dinner table when guests have been invited to dinner. They lend a pleasant glow to the atmosphere. Some I have used in an emergency. When the electricity has gone out and I carefully light one single candle, the light from that candle makes all the difference in the world!
In our Gospel today, Jesus goes to a Gentile region which the Jewish community considered to be in darkness. It is as though Jesus goes to a land of darkness so the light of his Good News won’t be missed. It is here, in this region of darkness that Jesus begins his saving work.[Living Liturgy, 2011]
As Jesus begins his mission, he offers two commands: “Repent” and “Come after me.” Two invitations to walk into the light, revealing God’s Kingdom at hand. The “kingdom is at hand” when we turn from darkness and become Christ’s light for others. Yet seeing the Light who is Jesus is actually much easier than following the Light! John’s faithfulness in preaching Jesus as the Messiah led him to prison and death. Jesus’ preaching about God’s kingdom at hand led him to the cross and death. If we follow the Light, we know what awaits us: dying to self. Yet dying is the only way we ourselves can become the light that shines for others. Following the Light takes us where we would rather not go. But it is only this Light that brings us everlastingn Life. This is why we choose to follow. This is why we choose to be light. Jesus’ call to us and our response to accept being the light is now, this time, our time
Just as one candle can dispel the darkness, so can the little light each of us is dispel the darkness of indifference, confusion, selfishness and greed tgat surrounds us. All we need to do is repent and follow.