Thursday, December 30, 2010
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone." (Isaiah 9:1)
I have been reflecting on this particular reading from Midnight Christmas Mass and what it means in my life. God the Father sent His Son to take the darkness out of our lives. He sent His own little child into this dark world and into those who walked in darkness. He even sent His angels to proclaim this good news of His Son's coming not to those who were living holy and Godly lives but to the outcast... to those who actually lived in darkness.
Holy Scripture tells us that these angels appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks at NIGHT:
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord."
Now, in Holy Scripture everything has meaning... every word has significance. Notice that the shepherds were "keeping night watch". Shepherds were not nice men and pleasant to be around for the most part. People didn't like being near them and didn't want to associate with them so they put them in charge of their animals. They were crude and the outcasts of society... and yet God chose to reveal His most powerful message to them. Why?
I think it is because God wants to reveal His deep love for each and every single one of us. He wants to reach down right into our darkest night and reveal His Light and Glory! He comes to each of us to take away the darkness of our lives so that we might live in His Light.
He did not create us to be chained in prison. He did not create us for garbage and to eat scraps. He did not create us for us to remain in darkness. He came to give us Life that we might truly be free and no longer walk in darkness but walk now in His Light.
Oh how the darkness likes to cling to us... those terrible thoughts we might have of others, especially our enemies or those who hurt us. How we hold on to resentment. How easily we turn to the delights of this world and the things of the flesh that really only bind us in chains. But He came to free each of us from all of this. But do we really want to be free? Do we really want to live in LIGHT rather than darkness?
I had enough darkness and I don't want it anymore. I don't want even one spot of it in my mind, my heart or my soul. I want His Light to SHINE in me. But for His light to shine, I have to let go of the darkness.... all of it.
I remember going to a particular home for a house blessing here on the Indian Reservation where I serve and I walked into their son's room. There was half naked picture of a young woman on one wall and a crucifix on the other. I looked right at the young man and told him: "You can't have BOTH! You need to make a choice of what you really want but one of these has to come down. You can't be a Christian and still choose to live in darkness!"
Oh how easily we can make compromises with our own Faith just like that young man. We let the darkness in... the TV shows we watch, the movies that are not pleasing to God, the music about death and destruction, the impure images we let into the light of our eyes.... and thinking that nothing is wrong. We have to make a choice. Either we live in the light of God or we live in darkness, but WE CAN'T HAVE BOTH!!!!
As we approach New Year's Eve where the world turns back to darkness and away from the Light of God... to drunkenness and carousal... to the sins of the flesh... may you turn more to the Light of God all the more. This New's Year's Eve I will be celebrating a Mass at 11:00pm and will complete it with a Holy Hour before Our Lord's True Presence in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I will spend the first hour of the New year before HIM and I will be praying for you.
If you are still playing with darkness, turn away! Go back to the Light of God... go back to what this past Christmas is all about! You were made to be a light bulb... but what good are you if you choose to remain in the darkness and refuse to let His Light shine in you?
I pray that you begin to let His Light shine more and more each day in you until no more darkness remains.