The Lord is my light and my salvation. (Psalm 27:1)
Light overcoming darkness is a major Advent theme. Fittingly, Christmas falls shortly after the day with the most hours of darkness. By the time Christmas comes around, the light is gradually increasing.
We all experience darkness in our lives, both within us and around us. The effects of violence and hatred splash across our television screens every day. In our neighborhoods and homes, misunderstanding causes alienation and isolation. Even in our Church, shadowy pockets persist, dimming the light of our witness to Christian purity and joy.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus hears the cry of two blind men, but he delays his response until they are in the best place to receive his healing touch. In the privacy of a house, he gives them the opportunity to proclaim their faith; then he touches and heals them.
It takes time for your eyes to adjust when you move from a darkened room into the bright sunshine. Surely it took these men a few minutes to get used to their new vision and to make sense of what they were seeing. And so Jesus stayed with them and helped them adjust to their new lives. He warned them, too, not to speak too soon about what had happened to them. They needed to see their situation more clearly first.
Advent can be a time of enlightenment for us, too. But our growth in understanding is likely to be as gradual as it was for these men. Perhaps we notice that a word or an image keeps showing up in the Mass readings: renewal, freedom, repentance, restoration. As we ponder that image, it can shed light on who Jesus is and on who he has called us to become.
When such light begins to dawn, turn toward it as much as you can, but don’t be surprised if the results aren’t instantaneous. Jesus has come into your world. That may change everything, but you still have to give his life time to grow and take root in you. How good it is to know, then, that Jesus will stay with you always, teaching you and helping you to adjust to the light!
“Jesus, you light up my world. Open the eyes of my heart as I inch closer to you.”
Word Among Us