Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge,for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak.And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Once again, Christ is talking about light…a light that does not exist for its own glory but rather to illuminate truth. Once again, we are invited to look for that light; be open to that light. Why would Jesus need to tell us that? Why would we not welcome the light? One reason is that light can be disturbing, especially when it reveals things that we don’t want to know about. Indeed, light can stun us. Consider the first photographs that people saw of the liberated WWII concentration camps.
Another reason that we don’t seek light is that we don’t believe it will come.
Revelation can emerge with maddening slowness. But Christ tells us that it will come. I have a friend who is a professional photographer who always lagged behind the group when we were going for a walk. Once we turned around and he was not there at all. When we retraced our steps, he was just standing still with his camera up to his eyes, but not taking any pictures. “What are you doing?!?” someone asked. “I’m waiting for the light to change,” he answered. And then it did, and then he saw what he was looking for. Finding God in all things requires that we neither turn away from the light nor despair of its coming.
—Bren Ortega Murphy, PhD is a faculty member in Communications Studies at Loyola University Chicago. She holds a joint appointment in Loyola’s Women’s Studies program.
We are the light of the world,
may our light shine before all:
That they may see the good that we do,
and give glory to God.
—Jean A. Greif, “We Are the Light of the World,” © 1966, Vernacular Hymns Publishing Co.